FRA wants emergency breathing apparatus in locomotive cabs

October 7, 2010

The Federal Railroad Administration on Oct. 5 proposed a rule that would require railroad operators to provide employees with emergency escape breathing apparatus in the event of a crash resulting in a hazardous material spill.

According to a notice of proposed rulemaking (.pdf file) published in the Oct. 5 Federal Register, FRA plans to amend safety and health regulations by requiring emergency escape breathing apparatus for members of the train crew and other employees occupying a locomotive cab of a freight train transporting a hazardous material. Railroad operators also would need to provide training on the need for emergency escape breathing apparatus, proper fit, usage, maintenance and response in emergency situations, among other topics.

FRA data shows crew injuries and fatalities related to catastrophic release of a rail shipment due to inhalation, collision or derailment represents 7.4 percent of the average number of 2,594 on-duty casualties per year.

Comments on the amendments are due Dec. 6.