Is Your Railroad Roadway Worker Protection Plan FRA Compliant?

Employees Must Be Trained By May 1, 2021.

In this article I will discuss:

• Some safety thoughts.
• Statistical data
• Key Definitions
• Responsibilities and Penalties
• Key dates and what are Part 243 Railroad Employee Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety Requirements.

What are some of the risks?
It is my experience most accidents involve some form of communication and supervision (training) breakdown. The success of your safety program at your company will ultimately be determined by the attitude of the personnel. Each day carefully consider the risks. No one should care more about your safety than YOU!

Are derails installed properly?
Are we truly always expecting a train?
Trains operating on adjacent tracks?
Relying on others for your protection.

According to the FRA, there were two short line fatalities reported in 2020.


FRA 214.301 Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this subpart is to prevent accidents and casualties caused by moving railroad cars, locomotives or roadway maintenance machines striking roadway workers or roadway maintenance machines. This subpart prescribes minimum safety standards for roadway workers. Each railroad and railroad contractor may prescribe additional or more stringent operating rules, safety rules, and other special instructions that are consistent with this subpart.

Key Definitions

FRA 214.7

ROADWAY WORKER – any Employee of a railroad, or of a contractor to a railroad, whose duties include inspection, construction, maintenance or repair of railroad track, bridges, roadway, signal and communication systems, electric traction systems, roadway facilities or Roadway Maintenance Machines on or near track or with the potential of fouling a track, and Flagman and Watchmen/Lookouts defined in this part.

EMPLOYER – a railroad, or a contractor to a railroad, that directly engages or compensates individuals to perform any of the duties defined in this part.

EMPLOYEE – means an individual who is engaged or compensated by a railroad or a contractor to a railroad to perform any of the duties defined in this part.

On-Track Safety – a state of freedom from the danger of being struck by a moving train or other railroad equipment, provided by operating and safety rules that govern track occupancy by personnel, trains and on-track equipment.

FRA 214.303

(a) Railroads must have an on-track safety program.

(b) This on track safety program must have internal monitoring provisions.

RWP Responsibilities

Railroads Responsibility: Must have an OTSM and monitor.

Employer’s Responsibility: Must train and ensure their employees follow the rules .

Individual Roadway Workers Responsibility: Must be trained and follow the rules and not accept any RW function they are not trained to perform.

49 CFR Part 243: Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety Related Railroad Employees

Federal Regulations requires each railroad or contractor that employs one or more safety-related railroad employees to develop and submit a training program to the FRA for approval. The rule also requires most employers to conduct periodic audits of employees and develop annual written review of their training programs.

Key Dates:

Employers with more than 400,000 employee work hours now have until Jan. 1, 2019 to submit training programs to the FRA and employers with less than 400,000 employee work hours have until May 1, 2020 to submit programs

Penalties and consequences for noncompliance.

According to FRA 49 243.7: “A person who violates any requirement of this part, or causes the violation of any such requirement, is subject to a civil penalty of at least $892 and not more than $29,192 per violation…”


This article is not intended to serve as a complete explanation of the regulations. You must consult the complete regulation when necessary. This summary may not be used to qualify any person. Roadway workers are required to be trained on the specific rules and procedures of each railroad they are to perform work as defined by this regulation.

RailSafe Training

RailSafe Training offers FRA Approved Online Roadway Worker Training. Feel free to contact me about this or any other of your rail-related training needs.

Russell York
Director of Safety and Training
RailSafe Training, LLC