Thursday, August 29, 2013

FRA Announces Potential RSAC Actions

Yesterday a press release from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced the results from the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee’s emergency meeting to discuss potential regulatory actions that the FRA might consider in light of the Canadian oil train derailment earlier this summer.

During the meeting the RSAC agreed to address four areas:

• The appropriate train crew size;
• The requirements for the securement of trains;
• The operational testing for employees to ensure appropriate processes and procedures for securing trains are followed; and
• The hazardous materials issues relating to the identification, classification, operational control and handling of such shipments in transportation. 

Since part of the RSAC mandates is to examine safety issues and identify “cost effective solutions based on the agreed-upon facts; and identify regulatory options where necessary to implement those solutions”, it is very possible that regulatory actions might result from this process.

But don’t expect quick action. The RSAC operates on a consensus building process and then its recommendations for legislative action must be referred to FRA and DOT for subsequent action. And then, of course, the whole public publish, response and review process still has to unfold. The first step, the RSAC recommendations, is supposed to be filed with the FRA by April of next year.

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