Several railroad grade crossings will get flashing lights and gates as a result of nearly $10 million from the Railroad Safety Grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products (STEP) by Rail Program.

Railroad Safety Training Deadlines Extended One Year

To comply with the law, each railroad or contractor employing one or more safety-related railroad employees must submit a training program to FRA for approval and 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.

The Federal Railroad Administration 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.

In a May 3 notice published in the Federal Register, FRA announced the extra time, saying 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."

To comply with the law, each railroad or contractor employing one or more safety-related railroad employees must submit a training program to FRA for approval and 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.

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.

Training organizations and learning institutions that have provided training to safety-related employees prior to Jan. 1, 2018, may continue without FRA approval until Jan. 1, 2019. They need approval no later than Jan. 1, 2019 to continue (although extensions may be granted with sufficient facts, according to FRA). Model programs submitted to FRA prior to May 1, 2018, are considered approved and may be implemented 180 days after date of submission, unless FRA notifies the organization that developed and submitted the program that the program contains deficiencies.

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