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Safety Guidelines and Regulations

In Canada

Rail safety regulation in Canada is the responsibility of Transport Canada, which administers the Canadian Railway Safety Act, as well as the rail portions of other safety-related statutes. For more information on the recent Railway Safety Act review and CN's response click here. Transport Canada enforces rail safety regulations and conducts research and development in support of improved railroad safety. Transport Canada works closely with the railroad industry through forums such as the Advisory Council on Railway Safety and on various safety issues, including track standards, equipment standards, and transportation of hazardous materials.

The safety of railroad employees in Canada is also subject to the regulations of the department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

In the United States

Rail safety regulation in the United States is the responsibility of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which administers the Federal Rail Safety Act, as well as the rail portions of other safety-related statutes. The FRA works closely with the railroad industry on various safety issues through its Rail Safety Advisory Committee, and also initiates regulatory proceedings when needed to address critical issues.

Operating Rules

In railroad operations, nearly every aspect of employee work-related activity is governed by operating rules, the working rules that all employees must abide by when performing their duties. Every CN employee in Canada and the United States involved in the movement of trains or engines is trained and tested in the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) or the U.S. Operating Rules (USOR). Employees must follow the operating rules with 100 percent compliance 100 percent of the time for their safety and the safety of everyone around them.

Employees must receive periodic refresher courses and be retested in their occupational category every three years.

Work/Rest Rules

CN operating employees (train crews) in Canada are covered by the Canadian Work/Rest Rules developed under the Railway Safety Act. The rules define the requirements for hours of work and rest in order to ensure operating employees remain alert throughout their period of duty. CN operating employees are required to have this document with them when on duty.

As required under the Work/Rest Rules, we have developed a General Fatigue Management Plan for operating employees that provides strategies and a framework to address employee fatigue in the workplace. In addition, a specific Fatigue Management Plan has been developed to provide additional rest requirements for employees who, because of extenuating circumstances, are on-duty for extended periods.

CN employees in the United States who work in safety sensitive positions (locomotive engineers, train conductors, dispatchers, etc.) are covered by a Federal Hours of Service Law. The regulation sets specific limits on the number of hours these employees can work per day and provides guidelines for periods of required rest. The Federal Railroad Administration(FRA) is the enforcing body for these laws. CN is required to file periodic reports with the FRA for any violation of the Hours of Service regulation.

CN's hourly agreements with the operating unions in the United States are unique to the rail industry. Traditional agreements are based on the number of miles worked. These hourly agreements, coupled with CN's scheduled railroad and turn-around service, provide employees with the opportunity for sufficient rest and offers an improved quality of life.