49 CFR § 271.13 - Determination of inadequate safety performance.

§ 271.13 Determination of inadequate safety performance.

(a) General.

(1) This section describes FRA's methodology for determining which railroads shall establish an RRP because they have inadequate safety performance. FRA's methodology consists of a two-phase annual analysis, comprised of both a quantitative analysis and qualitative assessment. FRA's methodology analyzes all railroads except for:

(i) Railroads excluded from this part under § 271.3(b);

(ii) Railroads already required to comply with this part;

(iii) Railroads that are voluntarily complying with this part under § 271.15; and

(iv) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, new start-up railroads that have reported accident/incident data to FRA pursuant to part 225 of this chapter for fewer than three years.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(1)(iv) of this section, railroads formed through amalgamation of operations (for example, railroads formed through consolidations, mergers, or acquisitions of control) are included in the analysis using the combined data of the pre-amalgamation entities.

(b) Quantitative analysis -

(1) Methodology. The first phase of FRA's annual analysis is a statistically-based quantitative analysis of each railroad within the scope of the analysis, using historical safety data maintained by FRA for the three most recent full calendar years. The purpose of the quantitative analysis is to make a threshold identification of railroads that possibly have inadequate safety performance. The quantitative analysis consists of a preliminary selection and a rate-based analysis. Only railroads that the preliminary selection identifies will proceed to the rate-based analysis.

(i) The preliminary selection calculates the following values:

(A) A railroad's number of worker on duty fatalities during the 3-year period, calculated using “Worker on Duty-Railroad Employee (Class A),” “Worker on Duty-Contractor (Class F),” and “Worker on Duty-Volunteer (Class H)” information reported on FRA Form 6180.55 pursuant to FRA's accident/incident reporting regulations in part 225 of this chapter; and

(B) The sum total of a railroad's number of worker on duty injuries/illnesses during the 3-year period (calculated using “Worker on Duty-Railroad Employee (Class A),” “Worker on Duty-Contractor (Class F),” and “Worker on Duty-Volunteer (Class H)” information reported on FRA Form 6180.55 pursuant to FRA's accident/incident reporting regulations in part 225 of this chapter) added to the number of rail equipment accidents/incidents during the 3-year period (calculated using information reported on FRA Forms 6180.54 and 6180.55 pursuant to FRA's accident/incident reporting regulations in part 225 of this chapter).

(ii) For railroads that the preliminary selection identifies, as described in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, the rate-based analysis calculates the following three factors:

(A) A railroad's number of worker on duty fatalities during the 3-year period, calculated using “Worker on Duty-Railroad Employee (Class A),” “Worker on Duty-Contractor (Class F),” and “Worker on Duty-Volunteer (Class H)” information reported on FRA Form 6180.55 pursuant to FRA's accident/incident reporting regulations in part 225 of this chapter;

(B) A railroad's on duty employee injury/illness rate, calculated using “Worker on Duty-Railroad Employee (Class A),” “Worker on Duty-Contractor (Class F),” and “Worker on Duty-Volunteer (Class H)” information reported on FRA Form 6180.55 pursuant to FRA's accident/incident reporting regulations in part 225 of this chapter. FRA calculates this rate using the following formula, which gives the rate of employee injuries/illnesses per 200,000 employee hours over a 3-year period:

Injury/Illness Rate = (Total FRA Reportable Worker On Duty Injuries + Total FRA Reportable On Duty Employee Illnesses over a 3-year Period)/(Total Employee Hours over a 3-year Period/200,000); and

(C) A railroad's rail equipment accident/incident rate, calculated using information reported on FRA Forms 6180.54 and 6180.55 pursuant to FRA's accident/incident reporting regulations in part 225 of this chapter. FRA calculates this rate using the following formula, which gives the rate of rail equipment accidents/incidents per 1,000,000 train miles operated over a 3-year period:

Rail Equipment Accident/Incident Rate = Total FRA Reportable Rail Equipment Accidents/Incidents over a 3-year Period/(Total Train Miles over a 3-year Period/1,000,000)

(2) Identification.

(i) The preliminary selection phase of the quantitative analysis identifies railroads for further analysis in the rate-based analysis if at least one of the following two conditions exist within the scope and timeframe of the analysis:

(A) A railroad has one or more worker on duty fatalities as calculated in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A) of this section; or

(B) A railroad is at or above the 90th percentile for the sum total of worker on duty injuries/illnesses and rail equipment accidents/incidents, as calculated in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B) of this section.

(ii) For railroads identified in the preliminary selection, the rate-based analysis identifies railroads as possibly having inadequate safety performance if at least one of the following two conditions exists within the scope and time frame of the analysis:

(A) A railroad has one or more worker on duty fatalities as calculated in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A) of this section; or

(B) A railroad is at or above the 90th percentile of railroads identified in the preliminary selection in either of the factors described in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(B) and (C) of this section.

(c) Qualitative assessment. The second phase of FRA's analysis is a qualitative assessment of railroads identified in the quantitative analysis as possibly having inadequate safety performance.

(1) Notification and railroad/employee comment. FRA will notify a railroad in writing if FRA conducts a qualitative assessment of the railroad because the quantitative analysis identified the railroad as possibly having inadequate safety performance.

(i) No later than 15 days after receiving FRA's written notice, a railroad shall notify its employees of FRA's written notice. The railroad shall post this employee notification at all locations where the railroad reasonably expects its employees to report and to have an opportunity to observe the notice. The railroad shall post and continuously display the employee notification until 45 days after FRA's initial written notice. The railroad shall notify employees who do not have a regular on-duty point for reporting to work by other means, under the railroad's standard practice for communicating with employees. The notification shall inform railroad employees that they may confidentially submit comments to FRA regarding the railroad's safety performance and that employees shall file any such comments with the FRA Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety and Chief Safety Officer, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590 no later than 45 days following FRA's initial written notice.

(ii) No later than 45 days after receiving FRA's written notice, a railroad may provide FRA documentation supporting any claims that the railroad does not have inadequate safety performance.

(2) Methodology. No later than 90 days after providing the initial notice to a railroad identified by the quantitative analysis, FRA will conduct a qualitative assessment of the identified railroad and make a final determination regarding whether it has inadequate safety performance. The qualitative assessment will consider any documentation provided by the railroad, comments submitted by railroad employees, and any other pertinent information, including information regarding violations FRA has issued against the railroad.

(d) Final notification. For each railroad that FRA provides an initial written notice, FRA will provide a final written notice informing the railroad whether or not FRA determines that the railroad has demonstrated inadequate safety performance.

(e) Compliance.

(1) A railroad with inadequate safety performance shall develop and implement an RRP meeting the requirements of this part and submit an RRP plan meeting the filing and timing requirements in § 271.301.

(2) A railroad with inadequate safety performance must comply with the requirements of this part for a minimum of five years from the date FRA approves the railroad's RRP plan under subpart D of this part.

(f) Petition for reconsideration of inadequate safety performance determination.

(1) To appeal a final written notice under paragraph (d) of this section, a railroad shall file a petition for reconsideration with the Administrator. To file a petition, the railroad must:

(i) File the petition no later than 30 days after the date the railroad receives FRA's final written notice under paragraph (d) of this section informing the railroad that it has demonstrated inadequate safety performance; and

(ii) File the petition in accordance with the procedures in §§ 211.7(b)(1) and 211.57 of this chapter.

(2) FRA will process petitions under § 211.59 of this chapter.

(g) Petition to discontinue compliance with this part. After the five-year compliance period, the railroad may petition FRA for approval to discontinue compliance with this part. A railroad shall file a petition, and FRA will process the petition, under the procedures contained in § 211.41 of this chapter. When processing a petition, FRA will reevaluate the railroad's safety performance to determine whether the railroad's RRP has resulted in significant and sustained safety improvements, and whether these measured improvements are likely sustainable in the long term. FRA's evaluation will include a quantitative analysis as described in paragraph (b) of this section, although FRA will not automatically grant a petition to discontinue compliance if the quantitative analysis results do not meet the identification thresholds described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. For all petitions under this section, FRA will also examine qualitative factors and review information from FRA RRP audits and other relevant sources.