Here’s a quick look back at some of this year’s notable developments in the rail safety world:

March: FRA bans railroad supervisors from medical examining rooms: click here

June: OSHA’s Whistleblower Office issues $300,000 in punitive damages against Metro North Railroad for violations of the Federal Rail Safety Act FRSA, setting important precedent: click here

October: Judge confirms FRSA punitive damages apply to publicly owned commuter railroads:click here

November: Judge confirms FRSA prohibits railroads from interfering with the medical treatment plan of employees’ treating doctors: click here

November: the first trial in the nation of a FRSA complaint is held in New Haven, Connecticut, against Metro North Railroad (stay tuned for the Judge’s decision in early 2010)

And looking forward to 2010, here’s hoping:

—for more rulings rejecting rail management’s bogus argument that the participation of employees in Railway Labor Act disciplinary proceedings somehow constitutes an "election of remedies" that bars them from the whistleblower protections of the FRSA;

—for judicial rulings establishing that under the FRSA, an employee’s treating doctor "trumps" over whatever a railroad manager or medical department may think or want to do;

—to increase the beneficial effect of the FRSA’s sister law, the NTSSA (which protects subway system employees who raise safety concerns) by encouraging its application on major subway systems such as New York City Transit and the Washington DC Metro.

Meanwhile, here’s wishing everyone a safe and productive new year!