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Rule establishes hours-of-service requirements for railroad workers

August 17, 2011

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Washington – The Federal Railroad Administration on Aug. 12 issued a final rule limiting the number of consecutive hours a passenger-railroad employee can work.

The rule (.pdf file) applies “fatigue science,” including modeling tools and data on human alertness, to determine maximum on-duty and minimum off-duty periods. It is part of a larger initiative by the Department of Transportation aimed at bringing scientific data into work scheduling.

Under the rule, which differentiates between working during daylight and nighttime hours, railroads must submit certain work schedules and fatigue mitigation plans for FRA approval, as well as provide fatigue training.

Additional requirements include:

  • Use approved, scientifically validated and calibrated modeling to identify schedule-specific risks of fatigue
  • Implement plans to mitigate fatigue risks before safety is compromised

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