FTA Opens Public Comment on Proposed Rule to Strengthen Rail Transit Worker Safety


FTA has announced that, for the first time, it is proposing mandatory minimum standards to protect those who perform track work for all rail transit agencies nationwide. Under this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, public transit agencies would be required to create a protection program geared at personnel who work on or around tracks, implement comprehensive training for workers, and ensure that unsafe acts and conditions are reported. The proposed rule would apply to rail agencies and state safety oversight agencies (SSOs) that are tasked with overseeing safety.

“The workers who repair and maintain America’s transit railways deserve to be safe on the job,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We are proud to propose the first-ever rule requiring worker protection standards for all rail transit agencies, and I look forward to partnering with transit agencies across the country to advance this vital rule and keep workers safe.”

According to data reported in the National Transit Database, between Jan. 1, 2008, and Oct. 31, 2022, 22 workers were killed, and 120 workers were seriously injured in rail transit roadway safety events.

“This rule will ultimately save lives,” said FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool. “Once this rule is finalized, it will support safer conditions for workers who perform critical tasks that keep transit operating efficiently and safely.”

The proposed rule would create the following requirements for rail transit agencies:

  • Adopt and implement a Roadway Worker Protection (RWP) Program to improve worker safety consistent with federal and state safety requirements.
  • Establish minimum RWP program elements, including job safety briefings, lone-worker protection, and good faith safety challenges.
  • Document RWP programs in a manual that includes a track access guide.
  • Implement an RWP training program that addresses all transit workers responsible for on-track safety by position.

FTA is also seeking feedback on the level of participation that safety committees established by rail transit agencies may have in the proposed rule, including their involvement in approving, monitoring, or overseeing the implementation of a rail transit worker protection program.

Transit agencies, SSOs, unions, and other interested parties should submit comments on this proposed rulemaking to the Federal Register comment docket, which will be open until May 24.