Transportation Rail Federal agencies

FRA proposes giving railroads one-year extension on submitting safety training programs

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Washington — The Federal Railroad Administration is proposing to delay by one year the dates for railroads to comply with training requirements in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, a notice published in the Dec. 20 Federal Register states.

The proposed delay is in response to a petition for reconsideration of a final rule issued in May, when the agency also delayed the effective dates by one year. The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association submitted the petition.

According to the Federal Register notice, the petition states that, “extending the one-year delay will allow adequate time to comply with FRA’s review and approval process and thereby assure its members that its model programs have been approved by FRA. According to ASLRRA, the additional one-year extension will also allow each railroad adequate time to consider how it will implement each of the model programs it will adopt and whether it will need to adapt the programs to address any unique aspects of its operations.”

The rule requires any railroad or railroad contractors employing one or more safety-related employees to create and submit to FRA a training program that sets minimum training qualifications for all employee categories. Most employers also are required to conduct periodic employee oversight and create annual written reviews of training programs.

According to FRA:

  • Training organizations and learning institutions that have provided training to safety-related employees before Jan. 1, 2019, may continue without FRA approval until Jan. 1, 2020.
  • Training organizations and learning institutions may submit written extension requests, which must include sufficient factors for consideration.
  • Model programs submitted to FRA before May 1, 2019, are considered approved and may be implemented 180 days after the date of submission unless FRA notifies the organization that developed and submitted the program that the program contains deficiencies.

At press time, FRA stated that it would accept written comments in response to the proposal until Jan. 19.

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