Drug Testing on Track for RR Workers

The train has left the station for drug and alcohol testing for workers in the railroad industry.

More than 36,000 employees who maintain the nation’s rail lines will be subject to that testing starting next June, as scheduled. On Thursday, Sarah Feinberg, head of the Federal Railroad Administration, rejected an industry request to postpone the testing until 2018.

Up till now, drug and alcohol testing has been limited to 120,000 “safety sensitive workers whose performance puts lives at risk. The expanded testing starting next June will also cover train-repair workers and workers who maintain track beds and railroad right of ways.

Feinberg decided that postponing the testing was not a good idea given what she called “the devastating substance abuse crisis” in United States. And that crisis is also reflected in data showing an increase in drug use in the rail industry. Nearly 8 percent of workers involved in rail accidents this year tested positive for drug use–the highest since the FRA began keeping records in 1987 and three times higher than 10 years ago.

You can read more about these new rules–and link to the full text of the rules–here.



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