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Canada's Transport Minister Marc Garneau last week announced an update to federal rules governing rest requirements for railroad employees.
The nation's "Duty/Rest Rules for Railway Operating Employees" have been updated to better reflect the latest science on fatigue management and to keep Canadians working or living near railways safe, Transport Canada officials said in a press release.
The new rules represent a "historic improvement" over the existing rules such as placing new limits on the length of a work period, and increasing the minimum rest period between shifts, officials said. The new rules also limit the number of hours that can be worked in a seven-day period to 60 and limit the number of hours worked in a month to 192 in a 28-day period.
Railroads will have 12 months to develop comprehensive fatigue management plans that establish clear responsibilities for mitigating fatigue risks. They will need to implement "fitness for duty" provisions within 24 months.
The new requirements will take effect in 30 months for freight railroads and 48 months for passenger railroads.
Garneau thanked the railroads for working with labor unions to their input on developing the new rules.
"My department will continue to engage with unions and the railway industry on ways to further address the risks of operator fatigue," Garneau said.