After a decade, OSHA issues new railroad construction rules

Most railroad construction will be exempted from OSHA construction crane regulations when a federal final rule revision takes effect Nov. 16.

The changes sought by the railroad industry were announced Monday following almost a decade of litigation and negotiation between OSHA and the Association of American Railroads.

The revisions exempt railroad construction workers from having to pass OSHA-mandated construction crane operator certification tests. The changes also exempt equipment used by railroads to do tasks such as installing railroad ties, building rock road beds supporting the track and ties, and installing the structures railroad signals, and…

The final rule will maintain safety and health protections for workers, while reducing compliance burdens, according to the agencyt.  The final rule adds certain exemptions and clarifications to recognize the unique equipment and circumstances in railway roadway work.  The rule also reflects that some OSHA requirements, with regard to the operation of railroad roadway maintenance machines equipped with cranes, are preempted by Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations.”