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The AP has reported that OSHA has fined Union Pacific Railroad more than $600,000 for punishing employees who raised safety concerns.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday it determined the Omaha-based railroad violated the rights of two conductors based in Kansas City, Mo., and an engineer based in Tucson, Ariz.

Two of the employee were fired and one was suspended five days.

OSHA determined these violations were part of a greater pattern by UP in retaliating and punishing employees who raise safety concerns.

UP isn’t the only railroad company with safety problems. In 2009, a Minneapolis judge found that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad destroyed evidence in an attempt to cover up its liability for causing a railroad crossing accident.

There are thousands of unguarded railroad crossings across the country — crossings with no signals, no lights, and no warning signals.

In 2010, there were 273 collisions killing 36 people at railway crossings on private roads alone, according to the latest statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The Endicott’s pick up was struck by a Norfolk Southern train pulling 110 coal cars. Of fifty railroads noted by the FRA, Norfolk Southern had the highest number of collisions in 2010. The states of Texas, California and Illinois have led the nation in railroad crossing accidents and train deaths.

Railroads often refuse to install safety devices (such as lights and gates at crossings) without getting funding from the federal or state government. Why? Why don’t railroad companies do more to make sure their railroad tracks and crossings are safe?

Read More:

[Moe on Railroad Crossing and Train Accidents]

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Sent home

    I recently brought up some safety concerns to managers at the railroad, and I was sent home immediately. I have been sitting at home for two months without pay and finally have been told that I can return to work after I get evaluated by a psychiatrist for my fear of heights which is complete BS! I don't even know where they come up with this? It's like they are punishing me for complaining about their rickety old equipment, and are teaching me a lesson. I'm just hoping there "doctor" isnt in their pocket too far. The results may be decided before I even show up. The UP managers I have met in my year long career have a little man complex and clearly don't play well with others. I have been lied about, sent home without pay, and am being forced to take medical evaluations they took two months to schedule. I think I will keep my safety concerns to myself from now on, or at least be anonymous. Keep the crosshairs off my back and my family fed. Oh ya, thanks for nothing OSHA and Union!


    Disgruntled at home UP Employee

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