The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has proposed a new rule intended to reduce unnecessary noise exposure and potential hearing loss of railroad employees who work in locomotive cabs.
The proposed rule is open for comment until September 21, 2004.
Hoey & Farina has represented hundreds of railroad workers in hearing loss cases against the railroads. We have long believed that a quieter locomotive cab would protect against hearing loss, increase safety and communication among engineers and conductors, and contribute to the long-term health of railroad employees.
The proposed changes would require manufacturers to design and build locomotives with quieter cabs and for railroads to maintain them to new standards. Currently, noise reduction features such as better insulation, relocation of air brake exhaust piping, and less vibration from cab equipment already are being incorporated into newer locomotives. The rule supports these and other methods to reduce interior cab noise to the proposed lower levels.
In addition, the rule would require train crews to use hearing protection and railroads to provide training in hearing loss prevention, implement hearing conservation programs and conduct regular noise monitoring. So many of the rail workers we see at union meetings we attend are suffering to some degree from hearing loss. This rule would be a start to improve the working conditions for future generations of railroad workers.
The notice of the proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on "Occupational Noise Exposure for Railroad Operating Employees" is included in the Federal Register.
Comments on the NPRM may be submitted through the U.S. Department of Transportation's online Docket Management System. The docket number for the noise regulation is FRA-2002-12357.
Should you have any questions about the proposed rule, or if you have questions about occupational-related hearing loss, please call Hoey & Farina at 1-888-425-1212 or email us at email@example.com.