Enhanced Process Safety Planning for Public Transportation Systems Coming Soon

Certain well publicized catastrophic accidents in recent years across various industries has prompted an emphasis on process safety.  Lapses in process safety often lead to the low-frequency, high-risk type of accidents.  On Friday, the Department of Transportation continued this trend of focusing on process safety.  The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to carry out statutory mandates in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.  The proposed rules would require operators of public transportation systems that receive federal financial assistance to develop and implement Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans based on Safety Management System principles.

One year following the FTA’s final rule, each State, local government authority, and other operator of a public transportation system will have to certify that it has established and implemented a comprehensive Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan.  Each plan must include a Safety Management System, performance targets based on certain safety performance criteria, methods for identifying and evaluating safety risks throughout all elements of the transportation system, strategy for minimizing exposure of the public to hazards and unsafe conditions, and a process and timeline for reviewing and updating the plan on an annual basis.  For any rail transit agencies, an emergency preparedness and response plan is also required.  In addition, the plans must include a comprehensive staff training program for operations personnel and personnel directly responsible for safety that includes the completion of a safety training program and continuing safety education and training.

The full text of the proposed rule is available here.

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