Railway Worker

You understand the importance of keeping your workers safe – the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has specific regulations to ensure safety measures are met.

But are you familiar with the most effective ways to protect railway workers’ health? By working with an Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) professional, improved worker health and safety helps to:

  • reduce absenteeism
  • decrease turnover rates (especially important with today’s workforce shortages)
  • lead to a more efficient and productive workforce
  • avoid unnecessary or additional medical testing and procedures that could result in a recordable injury or time away from work

What does an OEHS expert do?

Each year you work to protect your brakemen, conductors, switchmen, and yardmasters – working toward a zero-incidence record. You keep them safe and follow the FRA protocols.

But how do you protect their health?

Working with an OEHS professional who is experienced in rail line safety means you can protect them against long-term diseases including lung cancer, substance abuse or misuse, heart disease, diabetes, and mental health issues. OEHS experts evaluate and assess risks that affect short and long-term health and safety.


Should an employee experience an exposure in the workplace, we are available, along with a third-party toxicologist, to assess exposure and offer fact-based exposure information to emergency response personnel. In most cases, it avoids unnecessary or additional medical testing and procedures that could result in a recordable injury or time away from work. It is essential to let employees know that someone is working for them to ensure their well-being.

LaTonya Edwards
CSX Transportation and AIHA Member

Differences between the Federal Railroad Administration and OEHS Experts

Federal Railroad Administration (FDA)

  • Government agency responsible for creating and enforcing traditional safety regulations on or about the track
  • Focus is on enabling the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods
  • Administers programs on how to safely move hazardous materials
  • Though a separate agency, FRA agents often works in tandem with OSHA. [verify with experts this is true].
  • Inspects tracks and equipment to ensure safety standards are met.

OEHS Experts

  • Scientists and health experts trained in reducing health risks and exposures in the workplace, using a unique combination of biological sciences and risk management.
  • Focus is on protecting workers’ health and safety
  • Address matters related to exposure assessment, noise control and respirator protection
  • As a bridge between operations and safety, OEHS experts assist operations to safely work within established regulatory limits; help navigate OSHA and FRA jurisdiction and speak to regulators “in their own language”
  • Develop sampling plans based on chemical constituents of various products; assess products to determine if they should be used on site; effectively communicate exposures to employees and let them know which task processes require additional PPE or not

Using the example of coal transportation*, see how OEHS experts help railway operations teams protect worker health.

Railway Infographic


  • Emissions of coal dust particulates
  • Emissions of diesel exhaust
  • Noise and vibration from trains
  • Train derailments
  • Fires

OEHS Mitigation

  • NEED INFO (i.e., equips worker with respirator, tests air quality, etc.)
  • NEED INFO (i.e., administers noise level testing; assesses current noise protection equipment to determine efficacy)
  • NEED INFO (i.e., work with first responders, etc.)

Avoided Health Impacts

  • Heart and lung problems
  • Cancers
  • Growth and development problems
  • Stress and mental health problems
  • Injury
  • Death
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