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FRA proposes rule that would require emergency breathing gear in locomotive cabs

(Source: 03/08/2023)

The rule aims to protect train crews from inhalation hazards in the event of a hazardous materials spill following a derailment

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration today proposed a rule that would require railroads to provide emergency breathing apparatus for locomotive crews who are operating trains carrying hazardous materials that would pose an inhalation danger in the event of a release during a derailment.

The proposed rule, the FRA says, would protect crews from inhalation hazards that include chlorine gas, anhydrous ammonia, ethylene oxide, and anhydrous hydrofluoric acid. Together these four products make up over 90% of poisonous inhalation hazardous material shipments by rail.

The rule would require railroads to provide for storage of emergency breathing apparatus in locomotive cabs to enable employees to access the respirators quickly in the event of a release of a hazardous material that poses an inhalation hazard.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended that the FRA require railroads to provide emergency breathing apparatus after train crew fatalities that followed collisions in 2004 and 2005. Congress in 2018 mandated that the FRA issue regulations regarding emergency breathing apparatus.

Comments can be filed with the FRA within a 90-day period following publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register.

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