The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a final rule—49 CFR Part 271 [Docket No. FRA–2009–0038, Notice No. 7] RIN 2130–AC11—launching the Risk Reduction Program (RRP) “to support an increasing standard of safety for the nation’s freight railroads.” The final rule is effective April 20, 2020.
The rulemaking, which implements a mandate required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, requires “all Class I freight railroads and Class II and III freight railroads with inadequate safety performance to develop and implement a Risk Reduction Program (RRP) to improve the safety of its operations,” the rulemaking says. “An RRP is a comprehensive, system-oriented approach to safety that determines a railroad operation’s level of risk by identifying and analyzing applicable hazards, and involves developing plans to mitigate, if not eliminate, that risk. Each railroad has flexibility to tailor an RRP to its specific railroad operations, shall implement its RRP under a written RRP plan that FRA has reviewed and approved, and shall conduct an annual internal assessment of its RRP. FRA will audit a railroad’s RRP processes and procedures. Other railroads may proactively submit RRP Plans to FRA for approval. Railroads must involve employees in implementation of the RRP including identification of risks and hazards.”
“Railroads’ ongoing evaluation of their asset base and employee performance associated with operations and maintenance, under FRA regulations, can now follow a more uniform path of standardization toward further reducing risks and enhancing safety,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said.
The entire 64-page rulemaking has been published in the Federal Register and can be downloaded: