FRA Continues Strengthening Rail Safety Through New Rules Requiring Certification of Dispatchers and Signal Employees

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced two final rules that will require railroads to develop certification and training programs for train dispatchers and signal employees. Unlike with conductors and locomotive engineers, there have previously been no federal regulations mandating specific training requirements, safety and knowledge checks, and verification of safety records for dispatchers and signal employees. These final rules address this gap in rail safety and will help ensure that certified dispatchers and signal employees are qualified and fit for duty. They also build on FRA actions to increase rail safety and better protect rail workers and communities, including last month’s final rule regarding train crew size safety requirements.

Under the final rules, railroads must submit certification programs for FRA approval that will evaluate the knowledge, skills, and prior safety records of dispatchers, who allocate and assign track use and route trains, and signal employees, who install, repair, and maintain signal systems that direct train movements. In addition, these certification programs will help ensure that dispatchers and signal employees periodically receive training on railroad safety and operating rules and practices as well as on new systems and technology.

-via Press Release

This article was posted on: May 21, 2024