Media Kit » Try RailPrime™ Today! »
Progressive Railroading
Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

View Current Digital Issue »


Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation


Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

FRA issues final rule requiring breathing gear on hazmat trains


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) yesterday announced a final rule to improve employee safety on freight trains transporting hazardous materials.

The rule requires railroads to provide emergency escape breathing apparatuses (EEBAs) for train crew members and other employees who could be exposed to an inhalation hazard in the event of a hazardous-material release. Railroads must also ensure that the equipment is maintained and in proper working condition and train their employees in its use.

The FRA advanced the rule after the Norfolk Southern Railway train derailment in East Palestine in February 2023.

“As FRA continues to advance rail safety and address concerns related to the transportation of hazardous materials, this new rule will implement needed protections for the workers who transport these products around the country,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose in a press release. “The safety needs and benefits of EEBAs have long been established by past tragedies and research, and this rule will provide rail employees with the knowledge and tools to minimize potential dangers.”

Although casualties and fatalities caused by inhalation of hazmat are rare, train crew fatalities in 2004 and 2005 resulting from chlorine gas inhalation demonstrated that employee protections are necessary, FRA officials said.

The final rule fulfills the mandate in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 that FRA issue regulations requiring railroads to provide EEBAs and training in their use. The rule also addresses similar recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Click here to read the final rule.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/26/2024