(a) In General.— The Secretary of Transportation shall, not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, establish—
(1)minimum training standards for each class and craft of safety-related railroad employee (as defined in section
20102) and equivalent railroad carrier contractor and subcontractor employees, which shall require railroad carriers, contractors, and subcontractors to qualify or otherwise document the proficiency of such employees in each such class and craft regarding their knowledge of, and ability to comply with, Federal railroad safety laws and regulations and railroad carrier rules and procedures promulgated to implement those Federal railroad safety laws and regulations;
(2)a requirement that railroad carriers, contractors, and subcontractors develop and submit training and qualification plans to the Secretary for approval, including training programs and information deemed necessary by the Secretary to ensure that all safety-related railroad employees receive appropriate training in a timely manner; and
(3)a minimum training curriculum, and ongoing training criteria, testing, and skills evaluation measures to ensure that safety-related railroad employees, and contractor and subcontractor employees, charged with the inspection of track or railroad equipment are qualified to assess railroad compliance with Federal standards to identify defective conditions and initiate immediate remedial action to correct critical safety defects that are known to contribute to derailments, accidents, incidents, or injuries, and, in implementing the requirements of this paragraph, take into consideration existing training programs of railroad carriers.
(b) Approval.— The Secretary shall review and approve the plans required under subsection (a)(2) utilizing an approval process required for programs to certify the qualification of locomotive engineers pursuant to part 240 of title
49, Code of Federal Regulations.
(c) Exemption.— The Secretary may exempt railroad carriers and railroad carrier contractors and subcontractors from submitting training plans for which the Secretary has issued training regulations before the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
“(b) Report.—Not later than 6 months after promulgating regulations under section
20162 of title
49, United States Code, the Secretary shall issue a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure about whether the certification of certain crafts or classes of railroad carrier or railroad carrier contractor or subcontractor employees is necessary to reduce the number and rate of accidents and incidents or to improve railroad safety.
“(c) Crafts and Classes to Be Considered.—As part of the report, the Secretary shall consider—
“(1) car repair and maintenance employees;
“(2) onboard service workers;
“(3) rail welders;
“(5) signal repair and maintenance employees; and
“(6) any other craft or class of employees that the Secretary determines appropriate.
“(d) Regulations.—The Secretary may prescribe regulations requiring the certification of certain crafts or classes of employees that the Secretary determines pursuant to the report required by paragraph (1) are necessary to reduce the number and rate of accidents and incidents or to improve railroad safety.”
[For definitions of “Secretary”, “railroad carrier”, and “railroad”, as used in section
402(b)–(d) of Pub. L. 110–432, set out above, see section 2(a) ofPub. L. 110–432, set out as a note under section
20102 of this title.]
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