RAILROAD (EMPLOYEE DEPRESSION, POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER, ETC.) / U.S. Federal Railroad Administration issues this proposed rule in accordance with a statutory mandate that the Secretary of Transportation require certain major railroads to develop, and submit to the Secretary for approval, critical incident stress plans that provide for appropriate support services to be offered to their employees who are affected by a “critical incident” as defined by the Secretary who are directly involved in, who witness, or who respond to, such a “critical incident”.

“Critical Incident Stress Plans.”

June 28, 2013. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

“FRA issues this proposed rule in accordance with a statutory mandate that the Secretary of Transportation require certain major railroads to develop, and submit to the Secretary for approval, critical incident stress plans that provide for appropriate support services to be offered to their employees who are affected by a ‘critical incident’ as defined by the Secretary. The NPRM proposes a definition of the term ‘critical incident,’ the elements appropriate for the rail environment to be included in a railroad’s critical incident stress plan, the type of employees to be covered by the plan, a requirement that a covered railroad submit its plan to FRA for approval, and a requirement that a railroad adopt and comply with its FRA-approved plan.”

“This NPRM proposes a regulation that would require each Class I railroad, intercity passenger railroad, and commuter railroad to establish and implement a critical incident stress plan for certain employees of the railroad who are directly involved in, witness, or respond to, a critical incident. FRA seeks comment on all aspects of this proposal.”

“Although FRA has never regulated critical incident stress plans, many railroads have had some form of critical incident stress plan in place for many years. This rulemaking responds to the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-432, Div. A) (RSIA) mandate that the Secretary of Transportation establish regulations to define ‘critical incident’ and to require certain railroads to develop and implement critical incident stress plans.

“As discussed in detail below, FRA reviewed the applicable science and information received through the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), and as required by Congress, FRA proposes a definition for ‘critical incident’ and proposes a set of minimum standards for critical incident stress plans. This approach provides covered employees with options for relief following a critical incident, yet allows for substantial flexibility within the regulatory framework so that railroads may adapt their plans commensurate with their needs. The proposal defines a ‘critical incident’ as either — (1) An accident/incident reportable to FRA under 49 CFR part 225 that results in a fatality, loss of limb, or a similarly serious bodily injury; or (2) A catastrophic accident/incident reportable to FRA under part 225 that could be reasonably expected to impair a directly-involved employee’s ability to perform his or her job duties safely. The proposed set of minimum standards for critical incident stress plans include allowing a directly-involved employee to obtain relief from the remainder of the tour of duty, providing for the directly-involved employee’s transportation to the home terminal (if applicable), and offering a directly-involved employee appropriate support services following a critical incident. The proposed rule would require each applicable railroad to submit its plan to FRA for approval.”