Due to some recent drug and alcohol related accidents involving the railway, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has expanded its regulations for Drug and Alcohol testing to include Maintenance Of Way (MOW) employees.   This is similar to the inclusion of contractors within the Pipelines (PHMSA) and Transit (FTA) Modes

Each railroad is responsible to develop an FRA–approved plan in order to ensure that the regulations are met for any contractor and its employees that perform within the scope of the regulation.  Many aspects of the implementation are still in process, to include approvals.

The following excerpts from a presentation given at the recent SAPAA Annual conference by Jerry Powers, staff director over Part 219.

For a more comprehensive explanation and implementation plan, we suggest you contact the railroad you work with and visit the FRA website.  This link will take you to some of the specifics.


Is your company covered by the new regulation?

CFR Part 214 defines Roadway Worker as:

Any employee of a railroad, or of a contractor to a railroad, whose duties include inspection, construction, maintenance or repair of railroad track, bridges, roadway, signal and communication systems, electric traction systems, roadway facilities or roadway maintenance machinery on or near track or with the potential of fouling a track, and flagmen and watchmen/lookouts as defined in this section.

Here is an MOW litmus test

  • Employee or contractor for the RR — AND
  • Performs an MOW function
    listed above  — AND
  • Has potential to foul the track

Other highlights

  • If in the program the contractor will be required to comply with all aspects of the program to include random testing.
  • As has been its practice, FRA is holding railroads, contractors, and subcontractors equally responsible for ensuring that their employees who perform MOW activities are in compliance with the requirements of this rule.