FRA Finalizes Accident Reporting Changes
The agency has removed "non-train incident" involving non-employees who are injured while off railroad property from the definition of "Event or exposure arising from the operation of a railroad."
After a who's who of railroads and transit agencies filed comments and testified about it, the Federal Railroad Administration has changed its November 2010 final rule clarifying how railroads must bepore accidents and incidents. The main change is that FRA removed "non-train incident" involving non-employees who are injured while off railroad property from the definition of "Event or exposure arising from the operation of a railroad."
Stakeholders asked FRA to reconsider the rule, which was set to take effect June 1, 2011, but now will become effective July 1, 2011. FRA carried out this rulemaking to clarify ambiguous regulations, to enhance the quality of information that is available for analyzing railroad casualties, and to revise its 2003 Guide for Preparing Accident/Incident Reports and recording and reporting forms. Comments and testimony came from organizations that included the Association for American Railroads, BNSF Railway Company, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Illinois Commerce Commission/Transportation Bureau/Rail Safety Section, Kansas City Southern Railway Company, Amtrak, the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Union Pacific Railroad Company, Norfolk Southern Corporation, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).
Removing "non-train incident" is necessary because FRA did not intend to change the meaning of "event or exposure arising from the operation of the railroad," its final rule, published May 27, states.
FRA said it did not intend to negate a railroad's duty to submit Form FRA F 6180.55a for a reportable trespasser fatality within 30 days after the month when the death occurred. "Rather," it said, "this preamble discussion was intended to explain a railroad's obligation at the end of the six month investigative period if the railroad cannot confirm the cause of the death. As such, once a railroad learns about a reportable trespasser fatality, the railroad must create and submit a Form FRA F 6180.55a to the FRA within 30 days after the month within which the death occurred. However, after submitting the Form FRA F 6180.55a, the railroad must continue to try to confirm the cause of death for a period of up to six months for trespasser fatalities. If the railroad is able to confirm the cause of death, the railroad must amend, or correct, the Form FRA 6180.55a as appropriate. If the railroad is unable to confirm the cause of death, the fatality may be reported as a trespasser fatality so that the death remains as a trespasser fatality on the Form FRA F 6180.55a and the railroad is not required to amend or correct the report."