Recently I watched an episode of the new TV series ‘The Deepend’. In this episode there was a case involving a railroad worker in California who was a single dad, working hard at his job so that he could provide for his son. The worker was fired and facing criminal charges because he fell asleep on the job while driving the train which happened to derail, but left no injuries. The worker confessed that he had been taking his sons ADHD medicine so that he could stay alert and work more hours which is what the railroad company wanted from their employees. After some research by the lawyers, they discovered that the railroad company had been secretly covering the drug tests of their employees from OSHA and making their employees work long days to cover costs from hiring additional work. In the end, the lawyers were able to argue this and the company was fined, and the father was dismissed of the criminal charges and left with probation and community service.
After reading a recent story ‘Illinois Railroads Ordered to Pay Employee Fired for Reporting Work Injury‘ it seems like this fictional story is all to accurate and is happening around us now.
OSHA has ordered the Illinois Central Railroad Co., and the Chicago Central & Pacific Railroad to pay a former railroad employee more than $80,000 in back wages and attorney’s fees. It appears that the railroad employee reported a work related injury he sustained while preforming his job. After the report OSHA was called in to do a full investigation which resulted in the management for the two railroad companies to fire the employee. As it turned out from OSHA’s report, the employee was in compliance with the railroads rules for reporting work related injuries and for not being at fault for his injury.
With OSHA’s increase in mandating fines; does the quantity and severity actually make employees safer on the job or does it cause management to sweep such incidents under the table and cover them up from the public knowledge?
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