Railroad Agency Promises Worker Protection Rule by Aug. 31

The latest update on projects of its Rail Safety Advisory Committee says a proposed rule about protecting workers on adjacent tracks will be handled on an accelerated basis, while a "catchall" rule for adjacent controlled-track safety will be published by the end of this year.

The latest update on projects of the Federal Railroad Administration's Rail Safety Advisory Committee says a proposed rule about protecting workers on adjacent tracks will be handled on an accelerated basis, while a "catchall" rule for adjacent controlled-track safety will be published before the end of this year.

The agency decided to issue a separate adjacent track rule because of an increase in roadway worker fatalities that occurred on adjacent tracks, but its draft rule published on July 17, 2008 was withdrawn less than a month later out of concern that parts of it "failed to accurately capture the consensus recommendations of the RSAC," the agency said.

RSAC's Railroad Operating Rules Working Group has studied issues related to the issuance of Emergency Order No. 26, which prohibits the use of certain electronic devices while on duty, and voted on Sept. 25, 2008, to create a Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Task Force to review highway-rail grade crossing accident reports of incidents where crossing warning systems gave brief warnings or no warnings because of "train operational issues," with the intention of recommending new accident/incident reporting codes that would better explain such events and lead to solutions. FRA said a task force has been formed and will meet in late 2009. after other Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2008 priorities are met.

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