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?
- OSHA cites UP for retaliating against workers [AP via Bloomberg]
- Did You Know… Most Railroad Crossings Are Not Protected?
- Unmarked Railway Crossings Consistently Prove Deadly
- Texas, California and Illinois Lead Country In Railroad Crossing Accidents
(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.