OEHS experts protect railway workers' health and safety

Railway Worker

You understand the importance of keeping your workers safe – the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has specific regulations to ensure safety measures are met.

But are you familiar with the most effective ways to protect railway workers’ health? By working with an Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) professional, improved worker health and safety helps to:

  • reduce absenteeism
  • decrease turnover rates (especially important with today’s workforce shortages)
  • lead to a more efficient and productive workforce
  • avoid unnecessary or additional medical testing and procedures that could result in a recordable injury or time away from work

Reduce risks and keep your railway workers safe.


Don’t wait for a serious event to hire an OEHS expert.

The expertise in knowing what is required for occupational health regulations vs. industry/DOT requirements is invaluable. A person well versed in OEHS will offer invaluable insight to ensure compliance with occupational health and safety regulations, reduce/eliminate the potential for regulatory fines, and ensure service production disruptions are minimal.

What does an OEHS expert do?

Each year you work to protect your brakemen, conductors, switchmen, and yardmasters – working toward a zero-incidence record. You keep them safe and follow the FRA protocols.

But how do you as a supervisor protect your workers’ health?

Working with an OEHS professional who is experienced in rail line safety means you can protect them against long-term diseases including lung cancer, substance abuse or misuse, heart disease, diabetes, and mental health issues. OEHS experts evaluate and assess risks that affect short and long-term health and safety.

Differences between the Federal Railroad Administration and OEHS Experts

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

  • Government agency responsible for creating and enforcing traditional safety regulations on or about the track
  • Focus is on enabling the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods
  • Administers programs on how to safely move hazardous materials
  • Though a separate agency, FRA relies on the expertise of OSHA for occupational health and safety matters and will defer to OSHA for regulatory oversight when FRA does not have a regulatory statute.
  • Inspects tracks and equipment to ensure safety standards are met.
Railway Infographic

OEHS Experts

  • Scientists and health experts trained in reducing health risks and exposures in the workplace, using a unique combination of biological sciences and risk management.
  • Focus is on protecting workers’ health and safety
  • Address matters related to exposure assessment, noise control and respirator protection
  • As a bridge between operations and safety, OEHS experts assist operations to safely work within established regulatory limits; help navigate OSHA and FRA jurisdiction and speak to regulators “in their own language”
  • Develop sampling plans based on chemical constituents of various products; assess products to determine if they should be used on site; effectively communicate exposures to employees and let them know which task processes require additional PPE or not

OEHS experts assess risks and introduce instruments, tools and other mitigation to protect worker health.

Railway Infographic

Source: The Human Health Effects of Rail Transport of Coal Through Multnomah County, Oregon

Published by Oregon Office of Policy and Planning