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February 06, 2013
BNSF signs deal with OSHA to improve railroad safety

OSHA and the BNSF Railway Co. have signed an agreement regarding the railroad’s voluntary revision of several personnel policies that violate whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act. The policies, according to OSHA, dissuade workers from reporting on-the-job injuries.

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Terms of the accord include the following:

  • Changing the BNSF disciplinary policy so that injuries no longer play a role in determining the length of an employee’s probation following a suspension.
  • Eliminating a policy that assigned points to employees who sustained workplace injuries.
  • Revising a policy that made work-related injuries the basis for enrolling employees in a program requiring increased safety counseling and operations testing.
  • Instituting a higher-level review for cases in which employees who report on-duty personal injuries are also assessed discipline.
  • Implementing a training program to educate managers and others about their responsibilities under the Federal Railroad Safety Act.
  • Making settlement offers to 36 employees who filed whistleblower complaints with OSHA, which manages complaints for a variety of federal agencies.
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