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BNSF Railway Co and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration achieved a milestone on Jan, 15, 2013, by signing an accord that protects railroad workers who report on-the-job injuries from retaliation.

BNSF worker

Between 2007 and 2012, OSHA received over 1,200 whistleblower complaints by railroad workers higher than for all other whistleblower protection statutes enforced by the agency, except one.

The new agreement changes the terms of BNSF’s disciplinary policy so on-the-job injuries no longer play a role in determining an employee’s probation following a suspension and disciplinary points will also no longer be issued for injuries as they did in the past.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels said:

Protecting America’s railroad workers who report on-the-job injuries is an essential element in OSHA’s mission. This accord makes significant progress toward ensuring that BNSF employees who report injuries do not suffer any adverse consequences for doing so.

IBEW Railroad Department Director Bill Bohne’ said:

It’s been a serious problem with the railroads for years. You get hurt at work or have to work under unsafe conditions, but if you report it, the company punishes you.

Michaels went on to say, that if employees do not feel free to report injuries or illnesses, the employer’s entire work force is put at risk because employers do not learn of and correct dangerous conditions that have resulted in injuries.

Blog post by FELA Lawyer News Blog, a railroad worker injury blog that publishes train accidents and FELA legal news from across the United States.

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