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10/30/2006



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA issues final rule to limit locomotive cab noise



On Friday, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced it issued a final rule that limits locomotive cab noise to prevent occupational hearing loss.

A revision to federal noise standards, the rule requires railroads to routinely monitor cab noise and provide employees training on hearing loss prevention. The rule also mandates that train crews use hearing protection. In addition, noise reduction features — such as better insulation, relocated air brake exhaust piping and reduced cab equipment vibration — must be integrated into locomotive design, manufacturing and maintenance.

“Locomotive engineers, conductors and other rail employees shouldn’t have to run the risk of hearing loss just for doing their jobs,” said FRA Administrator Joseph Boardman in a prepared statement, adding that the rule will help improve train crew communication and prevent accidents caused by occupational stress and fatigue.

Members of the FRA’s Railroad Safety Advisory Committee — including representatives from the rail industry, rail labor unions and suppliers — recently studied workers’ exposure to occupational noise and recommended cab noise-reducing standards. FRA officials incorporated the recommendations, as well as comments from locomotive engineers and audiologists, into the final rule.


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