Some OTC Meds Being Added to Railroad Post-Accident Testing

The Federal Railroad Administration's March 5 final rule adds tramadol and sedating antihistamines to the testing panel. Because these drugs are legal rather than illicit, it will keep the test results confidential.

The Federal Railroad Administration is adding non-controlled substances -- the prescription pain reliever tramadol and sedating antihistamines -- to the post-accident testing panel use to test rail employees who have been involved in a serious accident. The agency's final rule, which takes effect in 60 days, has been finalized despite comments from rail unions that to test for legal medications would discourage railroad employees from using necessary prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and also that the release of test results could result in discipline or dismissal for using a legal substance.

FRA cited its own research and studies of the general population in saying use of prescription and OTC drugs by rail employees is likely to be as high as that of the general population, which is significant. In any case, at this point, the purpose of adding non-controlled substances to post-accident testing "is to obtain data, not to deter the use of legal drugs by railroad employees," the agency said in the final rule. "FRA would not be fulfilling its accident investigation mission if it did not research the impact of legal drugs on the occurrence or severity of significant rail accidents, including the potential risks of using drugs with known adverse effects and the potential risks of using multiple prescriptions and OTC drugs which may cause unintended drug interactions."

Both tramadol and sedating antihistamines can cause drowsiness, which is why they are the initial non-controlled substances to be added to the standard testing panel, the agency stated. The rule says tramadol is widely used and is "a synthetic opioid similar to other synthetic opioids such as the controlled substances oxycodone and methadone."

Because the drugs being added are legal rather than illicit, FRA will keep the test results confidential. The substances already in the panel are alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, PCP, selected opiates, amphetamines, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue