FRA Proposal Seeks to Improve Working Conditions For Train Crews, Prevent Hearing Loss
Thursday, June 24, 2004 (Washington, DC) Preventing hearing loss in train crews is the aim of a proposed rule being offered today by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The proposal is intended to reduce unnecessary noise exposure and potential hearing loss of railroad employees who work in locomotive cabs.
"This rule seeks to improve the working conditions for thousands of locomotive engineers and conductors across America," said FRA Acting Administrator Betty Monro. "A quieter workspace not only protects against hearing loss, but contributes to better long-term health as well."
The proposed changes would require manufacturers to design and build locomotives with quieter cabs and for railroads to maintain them to new standards. Noise reduction features such as better insulation, relocation of air brake exhaust piping, and less vibration from cab equipment already are being incorporated into newer locomotives. The rule supports these and other methods to reduce interior cab noise to the proposed lower levels.
In addition, the rule would require train crews to use hearing protection and railroads to provide training in hearing loss prevention, implement hearing conservation programs and conduct regular noise monitoring.
The FRA believes the changes will reduce the incidence of noise-induced hearing loss, and that the rule will not impose significant additional costs on the railroad industry.
This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on "Occupational Noise Exposure for Railroad Operating Employees" is in today's Federal Register. It responds to a mandate in The Rail Safety Enforcement and Review Act of 1992. In advance of this proposal, the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), a consensus oriented rulemaking body comprising representatives from the FRA, the railroad industry, rail labor, manufacturers, suppliers and others, examined the issue of occupational noise and recommended that FRA update the existing noise standard.
Comments on the NPRM may be submitted through the U.S. Department of Transportation's online Docket Management System, http://dms.dot.gov, until Sept. 21, 2004. The docket number for the proceeding is FRA-2002-12357.