OSHA has ordered Springfield Terminal Railway Inc. to compensate an employee who faced an investigative hearing with possible disciplinary action or termination for reporting an on-the-job injury at its facility in Andover, Massachusetts. OSHA ordered the company to pay the employee $10,000 in compensatory damages, $75,000 in punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.
An OSHA investigation determined Springfield Terminal Railway Inc. violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) when the company notified the employee of a mandatory hearing one day after he sustained and reported his injury, and was subjected to the hearing.
Springfield Terminal Railway Inc. must also train managers and employees on proper reporting of injuries and illness; inform employees of their rights under FRSA and the Occupational Safety and Health Act; and expunge any references to reporting an injury from the employee’s record. Springfield Terminal Railway Inc. may appeal the order to the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.
“This order underscores the Department’s commitment to protect employees who report injuries, or workplace conditions that could jeopardize employees’ health and safety,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of FRSA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.