October 25, 2014

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 [...]

Transport-employee fatigue continues to kill

While sleep scientists have established that going to work fatigued is like going to work drunk, there remains a disconnect among those who manage transportation firms. And people are needlessly dying and being seriously injured as a result. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood June 1 criticized his own Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for not sooner [...]

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 [...]

OSHA puts its own ‘hickory stick’ to BNSF

A UTU member will be collecting more than $95,000 in penalties assessed against BNSF by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for the railroad’s violation of the Federal Rail Safety Act. OSHA found BNSF guilty of intimidating and harassing an injured UTU member who reported his workplace injury to the Federal Railroad Administration. The [...]

OSHA affirms support for whistle-blowers

WASHINGTON – An official of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) this week affirmed the agency’s support for whistle-blower protection. OSHA enforces provisions of 19 laws protecting employees who report violations of various securities, trucking, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, workplace safety and health, consumer product safety, health care reform, and financial [...]

Solving problems through a positive approach

By Assistant President Arty Martin Viewers of the cable television sitcom, Fawlty Towers, may recall an episode in which Basil Fawlty (played by John Cleese) beat his broken-down car with a branch, blaming the car rather than his own failure to maintain it. Being too negatively focused on a problem rather than identifying and pursuing [...]

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 [...]

UTU working to improve airline safety

By UTU Assistant President Arty Martin Fatigue is a serious problem for pilots and flight attendants. Flight attendants additionally are without protections afforded under the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The UTU, working with the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, as well as the Air Line Pilots Association and the Association of [...]