The Transport Canada guidelines, released in May 2013, were designed to help staff evaluate risk assessments filed by rail companies with single-operator run trains.
The guidelines include "human factors" such as amount of sleep, health, age, lifestyle and workload demands, as well as best practices for managing them, according to records obtained by the Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
On July 6 last year, a 72-car train parked for the night came loose and rolled into the town of Lac-Megantic, Que., creating a fireball that killed 47 people, destroyed buildings and contaminated waterways. The now-defunct Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. and three employees of the company - including the train's sole operator - face charges of criminal negligence causing death.
Just months before the fatal Lac-Megantic train disaster, a Transport Canada report raised concerns that single-person train operations could be at risk from operators’ fatigue, sleep patterns and decision-making ability.