OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

January 13, 1992

[Name Withheld]

Dear [Name Withheld]:

This is in response to your letter of December 18, 1991, in which you informed us of the death of your son-in-law, [Name Withheld], on August 27, 1991, at the Elm Grove, Louisiana railroad crossing by a freight train owned by the Kansas City Southern Railroad. In your letter, you also wanted to know why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) "tolerates" the rail braking system on the train, and why the speed of the trains are not regulated.

We are sorry to hear about the untimely death of your son-in-law. Unfortunately, we are unable to assist you in your concerns about railroad safety. Motor vehicle accidents at railroad crossings do not fall within OSHA's jurisdiction; however, we looked into this matter and I am pleased to inform you that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has jurisdiction in this matter. The FRA may be contacted at the following address:

Grady Crothen
Associate Administrator for
Safety Federal Railroad Administration
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20590

If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to let us know.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs