Canadian government orders revision of rail work-rest rules to address fatigue issues

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OTTAWA — Canada’s Minister of Transport has ordered the nation’s railroads to update their work rules to address crew-fatigue issues.

In a Dec. 21 news release, transport minister Marc Gastineau said companies must submit updated rules for review by May 19, 2019, with the government to approve the updated rules by the end of June.

“The science on fatigue has evolved considerably since the ‘Work/Rest Rules for Railway Operating Employees’ were first put into place in 2002,” Gastineau said in the release. “We now have a better understanding of the extent to which fatigue can affect human performance and ultimately compromise railway safety. We need to make changes now.”

A ministerial rrder directs the railroads to revise their work rules to address such elements as:

— Length of a duty period

— Split duty (split shifts)

— Minimum rest period

— Cumulative time on duty

— Minimum time free from work

— Advance notice of work schedules

— Fatigue management plans.

The order authorizes the minister to establish rules for the companies if he is not satisfied with their revisions.

The Canadian Press reports that the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has cited sleep-related fatigue as a factor in 31 freight-train collisions or derailments since 1994, including the Lac-Megantic oil-train disaster that killed 47 people in 2013.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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