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A report from Amtrak’s Office of the Inspector General found that one-third of Amtrak locomotive engineers did not meet the company’s physical exam requirements before Amtrak suspended the exam requirements in August.
Amtrak officials said the exam requirements were temporarily suspended in part due to the pandemic, claiming the exam unnecessarily risked employee exposure to COVID-19 and employees had difficulty meeting the requirement under these circumstances. The engineers had passed a triennial physical exam that met Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements before the exam suspension. Amtrak officials said they expect the exam requirement to be reinstated once the pandemic has fully waned; triennial exams will continue as required by the FRA.
The OIG report stated factors that led to the noncompliance included transportation department officials being more concerned with meeting the FRA exam requirements to continue being certified to operate a locomotive and supervisors not having a process to remove noncompliant engineers from service.
If Amtrak reinstates the exam requirements, it may consider adopting more rigorous processes to enforce the requirement and remove noncompliant employees from service, the report stated. The vice president of transportation would be directly accountable for employee compliance.
To read the full OIG report, click here.