Our firm recently informed on the enhanced safety measures that a two-person crew brings to rail trains (as opposed to single person train crews). Well, the State of Minnesota listened as it joined Ohio and Kansas in enacting state two-person crew into law in 2023.The law was a work in progress that started in 2015 and came to fruition after the hard work of the Minnesota State Legislative Board and members. Well done Land of 10,000 Lakes!

What is the New Law?

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed HF 2887 into law on May 24th. The law states that, at a minimum, there must be a two-person crew that works aboard freight trains. The law also freed up infrastructure dollars so as to bring many more railroad jobs in passenger service to Minnesota. Minnesota becomes the third state this year to require two on a crew, following Ohio and Kansas.

What Are the Benefits of a Two-Person Crew?

There are at least four key reasons why two-person crews are better for the industry than a single-person crew:

  1. Improved Safety: Having a second crew member can help ensure that all necessary safety protocols are being followed and that there is someone available to respond to any emergencies that may arise. Railroad operations are dangerous, and the more experienced, trained, and skilled personnel on board these trains, the better that can protect communities and employees.
  2. Legal Requirements: The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) requires railroads to “provide for the safety of employees involved in the movement of their trains” and “provide for the safety of the public”. By reducing crew sizes, railroads are knowingly putting their workers and the public at risk, potentially opening themselves up to liability in the event of an accident.
  3. Increased Efficiency: While it may seem intuitive that single person train crews would be more cost-effective, this short-sighted view ignores the potential savings that can be achieved with two-person crews. With two workers on a train, tasks can be divided and completed more efficiently, resulting in the most important operational savings of all: time. This can help prevent delays and improve overall efficiency.
  4. Employee Well-Being: This ought to be a key motivator for railroads, though corporate behavior often suggests otherwise. Single person train crews can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the lone worker, who may not have the capacity to respond effectively to all situations. Fatigue, training gaps, and job familiarity are all negatively impacted in situations where a single employee is left in charge of a huge piece of machinery moving through the nation’s communities at speed. In contrast, two-person crews can provide technical and emotional support and help mitigate the stresses of the job.

Contact Rossi Vucinovich for Help!

If you sustained a railroad injury, please contact our law firm for help. Rossi Vucinovich PC has been helping railroad employees and people injured in railroad accidents recover from railroad injuries for over 50 years. We are dedicated to helping you obtain the benefits you need to treat your injuries, pay your bills, and continue supporting your families. Do yourself a favor and contact a Rossi Vucinovich attorney now!