FRA Issues Final Part 270 Rule Requiring System Safety Programs For Commuter And Intercity Passenger Operators, Amends Part 271 RRP Rules To Conform The Two Rules
- On March 6, 2020
By: Michael Barron
FRA has issued a final rule, effective May 4, 2020, requiring commuter and intercity passenger railroads to develop and implement a system safety program (SSP) to improve the safety of their operations. A SSP is a “structured program with proactive processes and procedures, developed and implemented by commuter and intercity passenger railroads to identify and mitigate or eliminate hazards and the resulting risks on each railroad system. A railroad has the flexibility to tailor a SSP to its specific operations. A SSP will be implemented after receiving approval by FRA.”
The rule clarifies that each passenger rail operator is responsible for ensuring compliance with the SSP final rule. FRA has adjusted the SSP rule’s compliance dates to account for its prior stay of the rule’s effective date. The FRA further amended the rule to apply its information protections to the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3 RS) program included in a passenger rail operation’s SSP. At the same time, FRA used this rulemaking procedure to issue conforming amendments to the Risk Reduction Program (RRP) Part 271 final rule issued in February of this year to ensure that the RRP and SSP rules have essentially identical consultation and information protection provisions.
The Federal Register publication of the rule is attached here. Contact Michael Barron at Fletcher & Sippel if you have questions.