Rail Federal agencies

FRA may require risk reduction programs for some railroads

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train-freight

Washington – The Federal Railroad Administration is considering a rule that would require Class I freight railroads and railroads with poor safety performance to develop and implement formal risk reduction programs.

A risk reduction program would involve employees working together to identify potential hazards and determine plans to reduce or eliminate associated risks, FRA said in a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Feb. 27 Federal Register. An ongoing risk-based hazard management program, including a hazard analysis, would help prioritize the risks to be addressed, the notice states.

Other facets of the program would include a safety performance evaluation, a safety outreach component and a technology analysis.

Each railroad affected by the rule would be required to submit its plans for FRA approval, and the plans would be subject to annual internal audits by the railroad as well as external audits by FRA.

“FRA understands that each railroad that will be subject to the RRP rule would have a unique operating system, and that not all railroads have the same amount of resources,” the agency stated in the NPRM. “Best practices for implementing an RRP would therefore differ from railroad to railroad.”

Public comments on the NPRM are due April 28.