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FTA, FRA Issue Final Rules on Safety Concerns
FTA issued the final rule Aug. 11 for the Public Transportation Safety Program that establishes procedural rules for FTA to administer a comprehensive safety program to improve the safety of federally-funded public transportation systems. The final rule formally adopts the Safety Management System (SMS) approach to safety as the basis of the FTA safety program.Also, FRA issued a new final rule Aug. 12 that requires passenger railroads to proactively identify potential safety hazards across their operations and work to reduce and mitigate them. The rule will help prevent safety problems from escalating and resulting in incidents, injuries or deaths.
“With today’s action, FTA continues its steady progress in establishing the regulatory framework needed to implement and strengthen our new and existing safety transit oversight and enforcement authorities,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers.
This rule also establishes procedural rules for FTA to conduct inspections, investigations, audits and examinations of Chapter 53 grant recipients’ public transportation systems, withhold or direct the use of federal transit funds and issue directives.
FTA’s Office of Transit Safety and Oversight has scheduled webinars Aug. 30 from 2-3 p.m. and Sept. 1 from 3-4 p.m., both Eastern time, to discuss the program rule and allow participants to ask questions related to its implementation. Participants only need to register for one session. Click here to register for the Aug. 30 webinar or here for the Sept. 1 webinar.
To see the Federal Register notice, click here.
The new rule, the System Safety Program (SSP), requires passenger railroads to implement, among other items, a defined and measurable safety culture; identify potential safety hazards in their operations and work to reduce or eliminate those hazards; and to document and demonstrate how they will achieve compliance with FRA regulations.
“Safety has to be a consistent priority, and that means identifying problems before they escalate and turn into an incident,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “This new rule will help passenger railroads achieve the next generation of rail safety.”
The next-generation, goal-oriented safety regulation aims to build on the current regulations, which serve as a safety foundation, to help the industry pivot from a reactive to a more proactive approach at achieving safety. Because of the comprehensive requirements the SSP entails, FRA will provide technical assistance on ways to set, achieve and measure safety culture and other important elements of the regulation.
The rule will go into effect 60 days from the date of its publication. Within eight months of publishing the rule, all passenger railroads are required to have a meeting with employees who are directly affected by the rule to discuss their plan on the consultation process when developing a SSP.
Read the rule here.