FRA Drug and Alcohol Testing of Maintenance of Way Employes: Effective June 12, 2017

Published: Sep 21 2016 2:52PM

FRA Drug and Alcohol Testing of Maintenance of Way Employes
Regulation Effective June 12, 2017

In response to Congress' mandate in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA), FRA issued a final rule on June 10, 2016, expanding the scope of federal drug and alcohol regulations to cover MOW employees.  The final rule becomes effective June 12, 2017. 

Under the final rule, MOW employees will be subject to all part 219 testing including random testing, post-accident toxicological testing, reasonable suspicion testing, reasonable cause testing, pre-employment testing, return-to-duty testing, and follow-up testing.  

The final rule prescribes the roles and responsibilities of railroads with respect to employees who directly perform MOW activities.  The final rule also prescribes coverage of contractors and subcontractors who provide MOW services to railroads on a contract basis.  Under the final rule, FRA will hold railroads, contractors, and subcontractors equally responsible for ensuring employees who perform MOW activities are in compliance with the requirements of this rule. 

FRA has adopted the §214.7 definition of roadway worker to determine who is covered by the Drug and Alcohol final rule. The governing definition reads: “Roadway worker means any employee of a railroad, or of a contractor to a railroad, whose duties include inspection, construction, maintenance or repair of railroad track, bridges, roadway, signal and communication systems, electronic traction systems, roadway facilities or roadway maintenance machinery on or near track or with the potential of fouling a track, and flagmen and watchmen/lookouts as defined….”  

The final rule sets the initial minimum random testing rates for MOW employees at 50 percent for drugs and 25 percent for alcohol; the same initial testing rates first applied to HOS employees.  FRA could lower these minimum random testing rates in the future if the data for MOW employees show consistently low overall random testing violation rates.

BMWED submitted extensive comment to the docket in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).  All comments to the docket, as well as the NPRM and final rule, can be viewed at:  Type docket number FRA-2009-0039 into the dialogue box and press enter.  You will then be directed to the public docket where you can search for BMWED’s comments to the NPRM, comments submitted by railroads and contractors, and a copy of the final rule. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FINAL RULE    

A comprehensive summary of the final rule will be published in a future edition of the BMWED Journal prior to the June 12, 2017, effective date of the rule. Members with questions or concerns, and anyone possibly needing assistance with substance abuse or a positive test, should consult their General Chairman or another System Officer without delay.