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May 11, 2017

Railroad Safety Training Deadlines Extended One Year

Railroad Crossing
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has granted an extra year for U.S. railroads to comply with training requirements in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which established minimum training standards for all safety-related railroad employees.

The FRA says model training program developers alerted the agency that "they will not be able to timely produce model programs that an estimated 1,459 railroads and contractors are expected to use to comply with the rule's program submission requirements."

Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 243, Training, Qualifications, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees, requires each railroad or contractor that employs one or more safety-related railroad employees to develop and submit a training program to FRA for approval and to designate

the minimum training qualifications for each occupational category of employee. The rule also requires most employers to conduct periodic oversight of their employees and develop annual written reviews of their training programs to close performance gaps.
  • Training organizations and learning institutions (TO/LI) that have provided training to safety-related employees prior to 1/1/2018 may continue without FRA approval until 1/1/2019.
  • TO/LI need approval no later than 01/01/2019 to continue (extensions may be granted with sufficient facts)

The regulation permits organizations, businesses, or associations to develop training programs that could be used by multiple employers. FRA encourages a modular approach to model program development to allow for easy customization by employers:

  • Model programs submitted to FRA prior to May 1, 2018 are considered approved and may be implemented 180 days after date of submission, unless the FRA notifies the organization that developed and submitted the program that it (the program), contains deficiencies.
  • An employer that uses a model program approved by FRA only needs to submit the unique identifier and any additional information that is specific to that employer or deviated from the model program
FRA has developed a Stakeholder Training Matrix to help those covered by the training requirement understand what type of items will require on the job training, and it has provided a link to submit training programs for approval.

Upcoming Implementation Dates, as of April 28, 2017:

Additional Resources:

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