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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) late last week issued a new final rule that requires passenger railroads to identify safety hazards and to work to reduce and mitigate them.The rule is designed to prevent safety problems from escalating into incidents, injuries or deaths, FRA officials said in a press release.The System Safety Program (SSP) requires passenger railroads to put into place a defined and measurable safety culture; identify potential safety hazards and reduce or eliminate them; and to document and demonstrate how they will achieve compliance with FRA regulations.The rule aims to build on current regulations to help the industry move from a reactive to more proactive approach to safety, FRA officials said.“Safety has to be a consistent priority, and that means identifying problems before they escalate and turn into an incident,” said FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg. "This new rule will help passenger railroads achieve the next generation of rail safety.”The FRA will provide technical assistance on ways to set, achieve and measure safety culture and other aspects of the rule, which will go into effect 60 days from publication in the Federal Register. All passenger railroads are required within eight months to hold meetings with employees who are affected by the new rule.
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