FRA Issues Proposed Rule to Improve Protection for Railroad Roadway Workers

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to improve protection for roadway workers from train or equipment movements on an adjacent track.

The proposal would require railroads, contractors to railroads, and roadway workers to adopt and comply with additional on-track safety procedures. It will cover work groups using certain maintenance equipment, when at least one worker is on the ground and the centerline of the adjacent track is 19 feet or less from the centerline of the track being worked on.

FRA is also proposing to expand requirements for job safety briefings, training, and recordkeeping to ensure compliance with the new procedures. Under existing Roadway Worker Protection rules, work groups engaged in large-scale maintenance or construction must be provided with adjacent-track on-track safety by way of a train approach warning.

The proposed regulation would expand upon this requirement to cover a wider range of operational conditions. Since May of 2004, there have been four rail employee fatalities on a track that was adjacent to a track where a group of roadway workers had been operating on-track maintenance equipment, representing a fourfold increase.

A copy of the proposal can be viewed at under the subheading Roadway Worker Protection. Comments on the proposed rule can be submitted until Aug. 18.