Feds to test railroad workers for drugs, alcohol

Railroad workers are facing new drug and alcohol testing requirements.

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) already tests certain safety-sensitive employees like train conductors for drugs and alcohol, but it said Monday it will expand those requirements to railroad maintenance workers.

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Currently, railroad maintenance workers are only tested for drugs and alcohol after they are killed in a train-related accident, but they are not tested on a routine basis, the agency said.

Under the new rules, they will face pre-employment testing, random testing and reasonable suspicion testing.

The FRA estimates these drug and alcohol testing requirements will cost industry more than $24 million to comply with over the next two decades but simultaneously save railroads more than $115 million.

The rule goes into effect in one year.