Rail Federal agencies

FRA issues safety advisory for active-track workers

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Washington – A recently issued Federal Railroad Administration safety advisory aims to improve protection of rail workers on active tracks under dispatcher supervision.

The advisory, released Nov. 25, lists several safety measures that FRA recommends railroads enact immediately, including:

  • Boost monitoring of workers’ compliance with rules and procedures.
  • Review train dispatching systems, rules and procedures to guarantee appropriate safety redundancies.
  • If appropriate safety redundancies do not exist, incorporate electronic technology such as the Enhanced Employee Protection System, Hi-Rail Limits Compliance System and the Train Approach Warning System.

Until these technological measures are put in place, railroads should ensure dispatchers know roadway workers’ locations and work plans, and should bar student dispatchers from removing blocking devices without supervisor confirmation, the advisory states. Additionally, roadway workers should check their authority limits before passing an absolute signal.

The safety advisory meets a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation on dispatchers and touches on another recommendation about redundant signal protection.