Are you fed up with rail managers who habitually ignore safety rules and regulations, and then blame the workers who get hurt as a result of management’s unsafe practices? Now you can do something about it. Here’s how to disqualify such managers from ever working in the railroad industry again.
There is a little known Federal Rail Administration regulation that gives the FRA the power to permanently disqualify unsafe rail managers from railroad work. Entitled “Disqualification Procedures,” it sets forth how the FRA bans managers and supervisors “who have demonstrated their unfitness to perform safety-sensitive functions by violating any rule, regulation, order, or standard prescribed by the FRA.” It applies to all managers involved in a railroad’s operations, track, equipment, or training departments.
The process begins when information about such a manager comes to the FRA’s attention (more on that below). The FRA then issues a Notice of Proposed Disqualification charging the manager with violating one or more of the FRA’s rules, regulations, or standards. The manager is then subjected to a public hearing before an administrative law judge where the FRA’s Chief Counsel presents witnesses and documents proving the facts alleged in the Notice of Disqualification. If the charges are sustained, the judge then issues an order disqualifying the manager from any safety sensitive job on any railroad. The only appeal is to the FRA Administrator, whose decision is final and not subject to any further review. Thereafter any railroad that fails to inform prospective employers of a manager’s disqualification or who actually hires a disqualified manager must pay penalties of up to $11,000 per day or $4 million per year.
Here’s where you come in. In order for this process to work, the FRA needs to be provided with the information confirming a manager’s violation of a safety rule or regulation. That means providing documents and the names of witnesses able to verify the manager’s violation. So if you want to turn the tables on managers who ignore safety while blaming the workers who get hurt as a result, send a confidential email to firstname.lastname@example.org (or the designated legal counsel of your choice) explaining the manager’s violation and listing the witnesses and documents that will confirm the violation. We will evaluate whether that information is strong enough for the FRA to pull the trigger on the unsafe manager.
And remember, if you do end up providing that information to the FRA, the Federal Rail Safety Act protects you from any retaliation by your employer railroad! So you have nothing to fear, and your co-workers and the FRA will thank you for it.