OSHA Hazard Information Bulletins
Remote Control Plant Locomotives

August 8, 1988




  • Director
  • Office of Field Programs


  • Director
  • Directorate of Technical Support


  • Hazard Information Bulletin on Remote Control Plant Locomotives

The purpose of this bulletin is to alert field personnel to potentially hazardous situations arising with the use of remotely controlled industrial plant locomotives.

From an employer's point of view, part of the attractiveness of the use of this type of equipment is that it allows an operator almost complete freedom of movement and eliminates the need for a flagman. The early literature promoting the use of radio control locomotives cites the operator's freedom of movement and the attendant's ability to observe all locomotive movements with no blind spots as a safety feature of the operation. Unfortunately, accidents are occurring because of unsafe work practices on the part of locomotive operators, usually because of limited line of sight operations and operations with blind spots in congested areas.

The Federal Railroad Administration has not published regulations or guidelines specifically for remote control locomotives. Further, no American National Standards Institute or American Railway Engineering Association standards currently exist to provide guidelines for the safe operation of remote control locomotives. Attached is a copy of the National Safety Council Data Sheet 1-707-85 on Radio-Remote-Control locomotives. This discusses as a general guide various training aspects, preoperation inspections, safety features and precautions involved in the operations of remote control plant locomotives.

Please distribute this bulletin to all Area Offices, State Plan States and Consultation Programs.


(For Attachment, see printed copy)