Let’s Talk: Fatigue in the rail industry

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Consultation has concluded.

Transport Canada (TC) is working with industry to align the rail sector’s fatigue management requirements and practices with the latest research on fatigue science. This was first initiated in 2017 when TC published its Notice of Intent to develop a regulatory framework for fatigue management. This work was further advanced with the approval of the new Duty and Rest Period Rules for Railway Operating Employees (Duty/Rest Rules) in November 2020.

These improvements only affect railway operating employees and fatigue-related errors from the tasks of non-operating positions (for example, rail traffic controllers (RTCs) and maintenance workers) and could have a serious impact on the safety of employees, the public and the environment. There is a need for a more systematic approach to fatigue management for all employees with duties essential to safe railway operations.

This regulatory initiative will help make railway operations safer for all Canadians. It is also supported by the Transportation Safety Board which is asking the department to take additional action regarding fatigue in the industry.

What is Transport Canada proposing?

Transport Canada wants to introduce Fatigue Management System Regulations, that would apply to all federally regulated railway companies and their employees.

We want railway companies to have, implement and continuously improve a fatigue management system to manage the fatigue of all railway employees who have duties essential to safe railway operations.

The proposed fatigue management system would have four main components:

  1. A fatigue management plan
  2. Processes and procedures
  3. A training and awareness program
  4. A process to continuously improve the fatigue management system

The goals of this proposal are to:

  • build on the existing fatigue requirements of the Duty/Rest Rules and add new ones that would apply to both operating and non-operating employees;
  • give companies a systematic tool to help them understand and monitor how fatigue affects their operations;
  • reduce fatigue-related accidents and create a safe and error-free work environment for employees, contractors, and clients; and
  • improve the well-being of railway employees and contractors.

This is an informal consultation after which a regulatory proposal will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a formal comment period. You will also be able to submit feedback as part of the Canada Gazette process. Once complete, the final regulatory requirements will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

We want to hear from you

We want to hear from stakeholders and the Canadian public. Your opinions and feedback are important. Please read our consultation document and have your say. There are two ways to participate:

  1. Send a formal written submission via the “Submissions” tab before April 11, 2022.
  2. Participate in our discussion forum through the “Have your say” tab. The forum will be open until April 11, 2022. To participate, please go to "register" at the top of the page or sign in.

As set out in Sections 19 and 20 of the Access to Information Act, be sure to identify any parts of your comments that we shouldn’t make public because they include personal information or third-party information. Explain why your comments should be kept private, and for how long.

Unless you tell us that a section is private, it could appear in any regulatory proposal that Transport Canada publishes in the Canada Gazette.

Transport Canada (TC) is working with industry to align the rail sector’s fatigue management requirements and practices with the latest research on fatigue science. This was first initiated in 2017 when TC published its Notice of Intent to develop a regulatory framework for fatigue management. This work was further advanced with the approval of the new Duty and Rest Period Rules for Railway Operating Employees (Duty/Rest Rules) in November 2020.

These improvements only affect railway operating employees and fatigue-related errors from the tasks of non-operating positions (for example, rail traffic controllers (RTCs) and maintenance workers) and could have a serious impact on the safety of employees, the public and the environment. There is a need for a more systematic approach to fatigue management for all employees with duties essential to safe railway operations.

This regulatory initiative will help make railway operations safer for all Canadians. It is also supported by the Transportation Safety Board which is asking the department to take additional action regarding fatigue in the industry.

What is Transport Canada proposing?

Transport Canada wants to introduce Fatigue Management System Regulations, that would apply to all federally regulated railway companies and their employees.

We want railway companies to have, implement and continuously improve a fatigue management system to manage the fatigue of all railway employees who have duties essential to safe railway operations.

The proposed fatigue management system would have four main components:

  1. A fatigue management plan
  2. Processes and procedures
  3. A training and awareness program
  4. A process to continuously improve the fatigue management system

The goals of this proposal are to:

  • build on the existing fatigue requirements of the Duty/Rest Rules and add new ones that would apply to both operating and non-operating employees;
  • give companies a systematic tool to help them understand and monitor how fatigue affects their operations;
  • reduce fatigue-related accidents and create a safe and error-free work environment for employees, contractors, and clients; and
  • improve the well-being of railway employees and contractors.

This is an informal consultation after which a regulatory proposal will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a formal comment period. You will also be able to submit feedback as part of the Canada Gazette process. Once complete, the final regulatory requirements will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

We want to hear from you

We want to hear from stakeholders and the Canadian public. Your opinions and feedback are important. Please read our consultation document and have your say. There are two ways to participate:

  1. Send a formal written submission via the “Submissions” tab before April 11, 2022.
  2. Participate in our discussion forum through the “Have your say” tab. The forum will be open until April 11, 2022. To participate, please go to "register" at the top of the page or sign in.

As set out in Sections 19 and 20 of the Access to Information Act, be sure to identify any parts of your comments that we shouldn’t make public because they include personal information or third-party information. Explain why your comments should be kept private, and for how long.

Unless you tell us that a section is private, it could appear in any regulatory proposal that Transport Canada publishes in the Canada Gazette.

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