October 21, 2014

NS: More than a hat trick or golden sombrero

OSHA logo; OSHA

In ice hockey, the scoring by one player of three goals is called a “hat trick.” In baseball, a player striking out four times in a single game is said to have earned a “golden sombrero.” Norfolk Southern’s feat is to have earned from OSHA a still unnamed fifth significant sanction in recent months for [...]

BNSF intimidation alleged to extend to witnesses

The UTU and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA), along with two other rail labor organizations, have filed a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), alleging BNSF has expanded its harassment and intimidation of injured workers to include the targeting of witnesses. In recent months, OSHA has imposed [...]

FRA, OSHA to coordinate safety complaints

OSHA logo; OSHA

Following almost 1,000 complaints from rail workers that they were improperly disciplined for reporting injuries or unsafe working conditions, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have forged an alliance to bring more pressure on railroads to stop the pattern of harassment and intimidation. “The safety of railroad employees depends on [...]

NS retaliation again slapped by OSHA

ns_Logo

It is reasonable to wonder just how many millions of dollars in sanctions must be assessed against railroads by the federal government before they learn the lesson that employees are not the equivalent of number 2 pencils to be chewed on at will and discarded when convenient. In the most recent comeuppance applied to Norfolk [...]

OSHA putting teeth in rail whistle-blower law

OSHA logo; OSHA

For too many years, many railroads have tied managerial bonuses to low reportable injury rates among employees, creating a culture of fear through harassment and intimidation – a culture that discourages the reporting by workers of on-duty injuries and allows railroads to claim an industry safety award accompanied by glowing press releases as to its [...]

Help FRA stop harassment; improve safety

Safety 1st; Safety First

By FRA Associate Administrator for Safety Jo Strang The Federal Railroad Administration’s Risk Reduction Program is a voluntary industry-wide initiative to reduce accidents and injuries and build a strong safety culture by expanding the toolkit to analyze and manage risk. Eventually, these assessments will complement other programs such as safety inspections of railcars and injury [...]

OSHA follows through on whistle-blower complaints

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — A Union Pacific machinist here was ordered rehired with back pay in a ruling by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) that found Union Pacific violated the worker’s rights under the Federal Rail Safety Act of 2007. OSHA ruled that in firing the machinist, after he had reported a work-related [...]

Rail safety concerns voiced by UTU members

Train and engine workers are the eyes and ears of railroads — the first to spot trouble, and the first to suffer when trouble occurs. On railroads, trouble too often means career-ending injuries and death. The UTU Rail Safety Task Force was created by UTU International President Mike Futhey to develop strategies to reduce rail-employee [...]

Our might starts with our members

By UTU Assistant President Arty Martin Early in our lives, we learn that success — whether it be graduation, being selected for a church choir, earning a spot on a sports team, or being hired to drive a bus, fly a plane or switch rail cars — requires preparation, following rules, and attention to the [...]

Rail Safety Alert #4: Documentation

The value of detailed documentation can never be overstated. UTU members have been empowered to address the issue of harassment and intimidation though federal whistleblower protection that is written into law. This protection already has had a positive impact. Recently, an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which followed information from a [...]