49 CFR 219.203 - Responsibilities of railroads and employees.

§ 219.203 Responsibilities of railroads and employees.

(a)Employees tested. A regulated employee subject to post-accident toxicological testing under this subpart must cooperate in the provision of specimens as described in this part and appendix C to this part.

(1)General. Except as otherwise provided for by this section, following each qualifying event described in § 219.201, a regulated employee directly involved in a qualifying event under this subpart must provide blood and urine specimens for toxicological testing by FRA. This includes any regulated employee who may not have been present or on-duty at the time or location of the event, but whose actions may have played a role in its cause or severity, including, but not limited to, an operator, dispatcher, or signal maintainer.

(2)Fatalities. Testing of the remains of an on-duty employee (as defined in § 219.5) who is fatally injured in a qualifying event described in § 219.201 is required, regardless of fault, if the employee dies within 12 hours of the qualifying event as a result of such qualifying event.

(3)Major train accidents. For an accident or incident meeting the criteria of a major train accident in § 219.201(a)(1) -

(i) All assigned crew members of all trains or other on-track equipment involved in the qualifying event must be subjected to post-accident toxicological testing, regardless of fault.

(ii) Other surviving regulated employees who are not assigned crew members of an involved train or other on-track equipment (e.g., a dispatcher or a signal maintainer) must be tested if a railroad representative can immediately determine, on the basis of specific information, that the employee may have had a role in the cause or severity of the accident/incident. In making this determination, the railroad representative must consider any such information that is immediately available at the time the qualifying event determination is made under § 219.201.

(4)Fatal train incidents. For a fatal train incident under § 219.201(a)(3), the remains of any on-duty employee (as defined in § 219.5) performing duties for a railroad who is fatally injured in the event are always subject to post-accident toxicological testing, regardless of fault.

(5)Human-factor highway-rail grade crossing accident/incidents.

(i) For a human-factor highway-rail grade crossing accident/incident under § 219.201(a)(5)(i), only a regulated employee who interfered with the normal functioning of a grade crossing signal system and whose actions may have contributed to the cause or severity of the event is subject to testing.

(ii) For a human-factor highway-rail grade crossing accident/incident under § 219.201(a)(5)(ii), only a regulated employee who was a train crew member responsible for flagging highway traffic to stop due to an activation failure of a grade crossing system (or who was on-site and directly responsible for ensuring that flagging was being performed), but who failed to do so, and whose actions may have contributed to the cause or severity of the event, is subject to testing.

(iii) For a human-factor highway-rail grade crossing accident/incident under § 219.201(a)(5)(iii), only a regulated employee who was responsible for performing the duties of an appropriately equipped flagger (as defined in § 234.5 of this chapter), but who failed to do so, and whose actions may have contributed to the cause or severity of the event is subject to testing.

(iv) For a human-factor highway-rail grade crossing accident/incident under § 219.201(a)(5)(iv), only the remains of any fatally-injured employee(s) (as defined in § 219.5) performing regulated service for the railroad are subject to testing.

(v) For a human-factor highway-rail grade crossing accident/incident under § 219.201(a)(5)(v), only a regulated employee who violated an FRA regulation or railroad operating rule and whose actions may have contributed to the cause or severity of the event is subject to testing.

(6)Exception. For a qualifying impact accident, passenger train accident, fatal train incident, or human-factor highway-rail grade crossing accident/incident under § 219.201(a)(2) through (5), a surviving crewmember or other regulated employee must be excluded from testing if the railroad representative can immediately determine, on the basis of specific information, that the employee had no role in the cause or severity of the accident/incident. In making this determination, the railroad representative must consider any information that is immediately available at the time the qualifying event determination is made under § 219.201.

(i) This exception is not available for assigned crew members of all involved trains if the qualifying event also meets the criteria for a major train accident under § 219.201(a)(1) (e.g., this exception is not available for an Impact Accident that also qualifies as a major train accident because it results in damage to railroad property of $1,500,000 or more).

(ii) This exception is not available for any on-duty employee who is fatally-injured in a qualifying event.

(b)Railroad responsibility.

(1) A railroad must take all practicable steps to ensure that all surviving regulated employees of the railroad who are subject to FRA post-accident toxicological testing under this subpart provide blood and urine specimens for the toxicological testing required by FRA. This includes any regulated employee who may not have been present or on-duty at the time or location of the event, but whose actions may have played a role in its cause or severity, including, but not limited to, an operator, dispatcher, or signal maintainer.

(2) A railroad must take all practicable steps to ensure that tissue and fluid specimens taken from fatally injured employees are subject to FRA post-accident toxicological testing under this subpart.

(3) FRA post-accident toxicological testing under this subpart takes priority over toxicological testing conducted by state or local law enforcement officials.

(c)Alcohol testing. Except as provided for in paragraph (e)(4) of this section, if the conditions for mandatory post-accident toxicological testing exist, a railroad may also require an employee to provide breath for testing in accordance with the procedures set forth in part 40 of this title and in this part, if such testing does not interfere with timely collection of required urine and blood specimens.

(d)Timely specimen collection.

(1) A railroad must make every reasonable effort to assure that specimens are provided as soon as possible after the accident or incident, preferably within four hours. Specimens that are not collected within four hours after a qualifying accident or incident must be collected as soon thereafter as practicable. If a specimen is not collected within four hours of a qualifying event, the railroad must immediately notify the FRA Drug and Alcohol Program Manager at 202-493-6313 and provide detailed information regarding the failure (either verbally or via a voicemail). The railroad must also submit a concise, written narrative report of the reasons for such a delay to the FRA Drug and Alcohol Program Manager, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590. The report must be submitted within 30 days after the expiration of the month during which the accident or incident occurred. This report may also be submitted via email to an email address provided by the FRA Drug and Alcohol Program Manager.

(2) The requirements of paragraph (d) of this section must not be construed to inhibit an employee who is required to be post-accident toxicological tested from performing, in the immediate aftermath of an accident or incident, any duties that may be necessary for the preservation of life or property. Where practical, however, a railroad must utilize other employees to perform such duties.

(3) If a passenger train is in proper condition to continue to the next station or its destination after an accident or incident, the railroad must consider the safety and convenience of passengers in determining whether the crew should be made immediately available for post-accident toxicological testing. A relief crew must be called to relieve the train crew as soon as possible.

(4) A regulated employee who may be subject to post-accident toxicological testing under this subpart must be retained in duty status for the period necessary to make the determinations required by § 219.201 and this section and (as appropriate) to complete specimen collection.

(e)Recall of employees for testing.

(1) Except as otherwise provided for in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, a regulated employee may not be recalled for testing under this subpart if that employee has been released from duty under the normal procedures of the railroad. An employee who has been transported to receive medical care is not released from duty for purposes of this section. Furthermore, nothing in this section prohibits the subsequent testing of an employee who has failed to remain available for testing as required (e.g., an employee who is absent without leave). However, subsequent testing does not excuse a refusal by the employee to provide the specimens in a timely manner.

(2) A railroad must immediately recall and place on duty a regulated employee for post-accident drug testing, if -

(i) The employee could not be retained in duty status because the employee went off duty under normal railroad procedures before being contacted by a railroad supervisor and instructed to remain on duty pending completion of the required determinations (e.g., in the case of a dispatcher or signal maintainer remote from the scene of an accident who was unaware of the occurrence at the time he or she went off duty); and

(ii) The railroad's preliminary investigation (contemporaneous with the determination required by § 219.201) indicates a clear probability that the employee played a role in the cause or severity of the accident/incident.

(3) If the criteria in paragraph (e)(2) of this section are met, a regulated employee must be recalled for post-accident drug testing regardless of whether the qualifying event happened or did not happen during the employee's tour of duty. However, an employee may not be recalled for testing if more than 24 hours have passed since the qualifying event. An employee who has been recalled must be placed on duty for the purpose of accomplishing the required post-accident drug testing.

(4) Urine and blood specimens must be collected from an employee who is recalled for testing in accordance with this section. If the employee left railroad property before being recalled, however, the specimens must be tested for drugs only. A railroad is prohibited from requiring a recalled employee to provide breath specimens for alcohol testing, unless the regulated employee has remained on railroad property since the time of the qualifying event and the railroad has a company policy completely prohibiting the use of alcohol on railroad property.

(5) A railroad must document its attempts to contact an employee subject to the recall provisions of this section. If a railroad is unable, as a result of the non-cooperation of an employee or for any other reason, to obtain specimen(s) from an employee subject to mandatory recall within the 24-hour period after a qualifying event and to submit specimen(s) to FRA as required by this subpart, the railroad must contact FRA and prepare a concise narrative report according to the requirements of paragraph (d)(1) of this section. The report must also document the railroad's good faith attempts to contact and recall the employee.

(f)Place of specimen collection.

(1) With the exception of Federal breath testing for alcohol (when conducted as authorized under this subpart), an employee must be transported to an independent medical facility for specimen collection. In all cases, blood may be drawn only by a qualified medical professional or by a qualified technician subject to the supervision of a qualified medical professional (e.g., a phlebotomist). A collector contracted by a railroad or medical facility may collect and/or assist in the collection of specimens at the medical facility if the medical facility does not object and the collector is qualified to do so.

(2) If an employee has been injured, a railroad must ask the treating medical facility to obtain the specimens. Urine may be collected from an injured employee (conscious or unconscious) who has already been catheterized for medical purposes, but an employee may not be catheterized solely for the purpose of providing a specimen under this subpart. Under § 219.11(a), an employee is deemed to have consented to FRA post-accident toxicological testing by the act of being subject to performing regulated service for a railroad.

(g)Obtaining cooperation of facility.

(1) In seeking the cooperation of a medical facility in obtaining a specimen under this subpart, a railroad must, as necessary, make specific reference to the requirements of this subpart and the instructions in FRA's post-accident toxicological shipping kit.

(2) If an injured employee is unconscious or otherwise unable to evidence consent to the procedure and the treating medical facility declines to obtain blood and/or urine specimens after having been informed of the requirements of this subpart, the railroad must immediately notify the duty officer at the National Response Center (NRC) at (800) 424-8802, stating the employee's name, the name and location of the medical facility, the name of the appropriate decisional authority at the medical facility, and the telephone number at which that person can be reached. FRA will then take appropriate measures to assist in obtaining the required specimens.

(h)Discretion of physician. Nothing in this subpart may be construed to limit the discretion of a medical professional to determine whether drawing a blood specimen is consistent with the health of an injured employee or an employee afflicted by any other condition that may preclude drawing the specified quantity of blood.

[ 81 FR 37931, June 10, 2016]

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