Railroad workers face a variety of dangers on the job. The heavy machinery, the trains and whatever they carry present unique risks. It’s a labor-intensive job and it’s common for workers to be injured on the job. While injuries may be a part of the job, it’s up to employers to do everything they can to prevent them.
Employers need to educate and train employees and supply adequate safety equipment. It’s also their responsibility to respond to dangerous conditions by implementing measures to reduce any risk. Federal law protects employees who speak up about safety concerns.
According to OSHA, trucking and railroad work are the two industries with the most whistleblower complaints in 2017. OSHA will host a series of stakeholder meetings this year, starting on June 12 in Washington, DC, to discuss issues facing the industry.
Originally passed in 1970, the Federal Railroad Safety Act, or FRSA, protects railroad workers from retaliation for speaking up about their safety. That means a legitimate safety complaint can’t be followed by discharge, demotion, suspension, reprimands, or any other form of discrimination based on the complaint.
The upcoming series of OSHA meetings is to address the ongoing problem. Not only are whistleblowers pointing to serious job risks, but railroad employers abuse their position with unlawful retaliation all too often. The law defends your right to speak up but, because complaints are often met with hostility, it’s wise to consult with an experienced railroad attorney when filing a complaint.