March 30, 2015

BNSF faces penalty on hazmat spill reporting rules

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state rail safety regulators March 19 recommended BNSF Railway Company be penalized for failing to timely report multiple hazardous material spills along state railways. The Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) issued the formal complaint following a staff investigation into BNSF’s failure to report 14 releases of various hazardous materials, including crude [...]

Member injured, engineer killed in taxi accident

A SMART Transportation Division member was seriously injured and a BLET engineer was killed when a taxi hired by Union Pacific Railroad to transport the men rolled off the side of a freeway near the Interstate 680/Interstate 80 interchange, according to the California Highway Patrol. The accident happened just after 1 a.m. this morning (March [...]

UP request to haul liquefied natural gas criticized

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Union Pacific Railroad has applied for permission to haul liquefied natural gas, which would add another combustible cargo to a U.S. rail network already being criticized for transporting ethanol and crude oil through populated areas. The Omaha-based railroad said the application for a permit from the Federal Railroad Administration is in response to a request [...]

Christopher Hart takes the helm at NTSB

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WASHINGTON – Christopher A. Hart was sworn as the 13th chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board March 17 during a ceremony presided over by Chief Administrative Law Judge Alfonso Montano. President Barack Obama nominated Hart to serve as chairman in January 2015, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him on March 12, 2015. He has [...]

Comparison of benefits under RRB, Social Security

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Employers and employees covered by the Railroad Retirement Act pay higher retirement taxes than those covered by the Social Security Act, so that railroad retirement benefits remain higher than Social Security benefits, especially for “career” employees who have 30 or more years of service. The following questions and answers show the differences in railroad retirement [...]

Member severely injured in switching accident

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A SMART Transportation Division member working as a conductor for Canadian National Railway (Illinois Central) was crushed by a rail car in a switching accident March 15. William C. Moses, 42, a 10-year member of the Transportation Division, was seriously injured in the accident that occurred about 3:30 p.m. in Fulton, Kentucky. He is a [...]

UP again violates Federal Railroad Safety Act

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More than 200 whistleblower complaints against railroad since 2001 NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – For the third time since 2011, the Union Pacific Railroad has violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act at its yard in North Platte by disciplining employees who reported workplace injuries and sought medical attention, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and [...]

Acting FRA chief has some in Congress impressed

Sarah-Feinberg

After a string of deadly train crashes, a pair of angry U.S. senators stood in New York’s Grand Central Terminal four months ago to denounce the Federal Railroad Administration as a “lawless agency, a rogue agency,” too cozy with the railroads it regulates and more interested in “cutting corners” for them than protecting the public. [...]

Mo. State Legislative Board has new website

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State Legislative Director Ken Menges reports that the Missouri Legislative Board has a new website at www.smartmoslb.org. Members can now stay up to date on issues affecting their jobs as well as issues affecting Missouri locals. Members can contact the board directly through the website, read their weblog and view an interactive calendar of events [...]

OSHA seeks nominations for Whistleblower committee

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WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that nominations are being accepted for members to serve on the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee. OSHA is accepting nominations for six members to serve on the 12-member committee for a two-year term. The six positions will become vacant Dec. 1, 2015. Nominations will be accepted [...]