November 1, 2014

BNSF fined by labor department

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad has been ordered to pay a Kansas City, Kan.-based employee $95,096 following a whistleblower investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The fine represents back wages, compensatory damages, attorney’s fees,  and punitive damages.

The investigation revealed that BNSF issued an employee a 30-day suspension and one-year probation in retaliation for reporting a work-related injury. Investigators also found that railroad officials disciplined the employee for not using proper tools to complete a task, although evidence revealed the proper tools were not available, according to a press release from OSHA.

Many of the railroad’s policies, including increased scrutiny for workers who suffer work related injuries and giving gift cards to those work crews that go injury free over a period of time, discourage workers from reporting on-the-job injuries.

As part of the investigation, the railroad was ordered to provide whistleblower rights information to its employees.

BNSF issued a notice to proceed on the intermodal project near Edgerton in October in order to capture a $35 million tax incentive from the state of Kansas.

Once completed, the railroad anticipates employing more than 140 people at the Edgerton facility. By 2026, BNSF officials project they will employ more than 300 people locally.

—Danedri Thompson

Comments

  1. Good ole BNSF, the top of the line corporate citizen. I have read so many lawsuits involving them and how they never, never, never want to be held accountable for their actions. Hope all citizens will read the one on Sheila White – she finally got her justice that she so deserved against BNSF – the case went all the way to the Supreme Court. I just write in my grateful book every evening that BNSF does not own the city of Gardner and its citizens like it owns Edgerton – it is bad enough that we have to be this close and it wasn’t necessary if only Edgerton would have had the good sense to say No Thank You (like Olathe and other cities did) and not given them the deal they have to have – they then would have kept going down the road and perhaps we could have avoided living in a highly commercial, industrial area where no one wants to live (as per the Will County, Ill. Treasurer’s Office where the Elwood intermodal is). Worshipping the almighty dollar has a very high price.

  2. Trees are cut down along Highway 56 between Edgerton and Gardner. White split rail fence coming down at Mildale Farm. Will BNSF take the Mildale Farm Buildings also???

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