FRA Proposal for Carrying Large-Volume HazMat Loads


FRAA rule proposed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) would require a minimum of two crew members for all railroad operations, except for those FRA believes do not pose a significant safety risk for rail employees, the public, or the environment by using a one-member crew.

The rail operations that could still utilize one-person crews would be low risk — that is, they are not carrying large volumes of hazardous materials, traveling at high speeds, or putting passengers on passenger trains at risk, according to the rule.

The rail operations that could still utilize one-person crews would be low-risk — that is, they are not carrying large volumes of hazardous materials, traveling at high speeds, or putting passengers on passenger trains at risk, according to the rule.

FRA is accepting comments on its rule for the next 60 days. Stakeholders can submit a comment by visiting www.regulations.gov and searching for Docket No. FRA-2014-0033.

FRA indicated in the rule it is concerned that, as positive train control is implemented, railroads may expand their use of one-person crews without considering safety risks or implementing risk management strategies that FRA considers necessary.

The rule’s explanatory text mentions the Lac-Megantic, Quebec, disaster, where multiple tank cars carrying Bakken crude oil derailed in the town and ignited, killing at least 47 people, as a recent incident that raised crew size safety issues.