49 CFR § 213.238 - Qualified operator.

§ 213.238 Qualified operator.

(a) Each provider of rail flaw detection shall have a documented training program in place and shall identify the types of rail flaw detection equipment for which each equipment operator it employs has received training and is qualified. A provider of rail flaw detection may be the track owner. A track owner shall not utilize a provider of rail flaw detection that fails to comply with the requirements of this paragraph.

(b) A qualified operator shall be trained and have written authorization from his or her employer to:

(1) Conduct a valid search for internal rail defects utilizing the specific type(s) of equipment for which he or she is authorized and qualified to operate;

(2) Determine that such equipment is performing as intended;

(3) Interpret equipment responses and institute appropriate action in accordance with the employer's procedures and instructions; and

(4) Determine that each valid search for an internal rail defect is continuous throughout the area inspected and has not been compromised due to environmental contamination, rail conditions, or equipment malfunction.

(c) To be qualified, the operator must have received training in accordance with the documented training program and a minimum of 160 hours of rail flaw detection experience under direct supervision of a qualified operator or rail flaw detection equipment manufacturer's representative, or some combination of both. The operator must demonstrate proficiency in the rail defect detection process, including the equipment to be utilized, prior to initial qualification and authorization by the employer for each type of equipment.

(d) Each employer shall reevaluate the qualifications of, and administer any necessary recurrent training for, the operator as determined by and in accordance with the employer's documented program. The reevaluation process shall require that the employee successfully complete a recorded examination and demonstrate proficiency to the employer on the specific equipment type(s) to be operated. Proficiency may be determined by a periodic review of test data submitted by the operator.

(e) Each employer of a qualified operator shall maintain written or electronic records of each qualification in effect. Each record shall include the name of the employee, the equipment to which the qualification applies, date of qualification, and date of the most recent reevaluation, if any.

(f) Any employee who has demonstrated proficiency in the operation of rail flaw detection equipment prior to January 24, 2014, is deemed a qualified operator, regardless of the previous training program under which the employee was qualified. Such an operator shall be subject to paragraph (d) of this section.

(g) Records concerning the qualification of operators, including copies of equipment-specific training programs and materials, recorded examinations, demonstrated proficiency records, and authorization records, shall be kept at a location designated by the employer and available for inspection and copying by FRA during regular business hours.

[79 FR 4259, Jan. 24, 2014]