Final rule requires railroads to provide support for employees who witness traumatic incidents

Washington – A final rule from the Federal Railroad Administration requires railroads to implement critical incident stress plans for certain workers who witness fatalities or traumatic injuries.

Under the rule, rail workers must receive leave, counseling, education on coping methods and other applicable support services after witnessing a traumatic event – which could include a fatality or amputation.

The final rule intends to help reduce the likelihood of rail workers developing post-traumatic stress disorder or other serious conditions, as well as help improve rail safety by relieving traumatized workers from performing safety-critical duties.

FRA notes that many railroads already have similar plans in place, but the Rail Safety Improvement Act mandated the final rule to ensure all applicable rail workers receive post-incident trauma support.

Applicable passenger and freight railroads must submit their plans to FRA within 12 months after the rule goes into effect on June 23. Petitions for reconsideration must be received by May 27.