OSHA Orders Railroad to Pay $18,830 for Interfering with Worker's Medical Treatment

OSHA found that the railroad, which provides commuter rail service in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, interfered with the worker's medical treatment and forced him to work in violation of his physician's orders.

An investigation by OSHA has determined that Metro-North Commuter Railroad Co. violated the employee protection provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act when it took retaliatory action against an employee at its Harmon Diesel Shop in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., who reported a workplace injury. OSHA found that the railroad, which provides commuter rail service in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, interfered with the worker's medical treatment and forced him to work in violation of his physician's orders.

The employee, a laborer, injured his finger on June 26, 2009, and reported it to management, who first attempted to dissuade him from seeking medical treatment. The worker received sutures at a nearby hospital, where he was instructed to not use his hand until the sutures healed, and to keep the hand clean and dry. The railroad's occupational health service determined that the injury disqualified the worker from duty, but the facilities director of the diesel shop persuaded the health service to change the worker's status to restricted duty. The worker's personal physician excused him from work until the sutures were removed and supplied written notice that he should not lift heavy objects or immerse his hands in chemicals, actions he performed in the normal course of his duties. In spite of these instructions and the employee's restricted work status, management ordered him back to work and required him to perform these duties.

"Metro-North's actions in this case are unacceptable and send a message of intimidation to its workforce," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "Railroad employees must be free to report injuries without fear that their employers will harass them, ignore medical instructions, or force them to work under conditions that could impair the healing process or cause more harm."

OSHA has ordered Metro-North to pay $10,000 in punitive damages to the worker and $8,830 in attorney's fees, and to expunge any adverse references relating to the employee's exercise of his FRSA rights from his personnel, safety, and department files. Metro-North also must post an OSHA notice for employees in the Harmon Diesel Shop and on its internal website, and provide all diesel shop employees with information on employee protections for reporting work-related injuries.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Schedule and Record Observations

    IndustrySafe's Observations module allows managers, supervisors, and employees to conduct observations on employees involved in safety critical behavior. IndustrySafe’s pre-built BBS checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to Safety Training

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common FAQs.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - April 2019

    April 2019

    Featuring:

    • ELECTRICAL SAFETY
      Taking the Guesswork Out of De-Energizing Industrial Equipment 
    • VISION PROTECTION
      Four Simple and Effective Ways to Avoid Digital Eye Strain
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      PPE the Automotive Industry Needs to Invest In
    • FIRE SAFETY
      Eliminate 10 Fire Hazards That May Be in Plain Sight
    View This Issue