Ourlaw firm has represented railroad workers for many years with regard to on the job accidents, relating to asbestos, silicosis, cumulative trauma diseases and all types of railroad injuries and diseases. When a railroad worker suffers an on the job accident, most railroads have an existing agreement with a company approved doctor, facility or clinic. The supervisors have been directed to take an injured railroad worker to the previously approved or authorized railroad company doctor/clinic/hospital. We have been involved in cases where workers suffered serious injuries, and the railroad supervisors would pass a clinic or hospital within 5 minutes, a clinic or hospital within 30 minutes to carry a worker 45 minutes or an hour to a medical facility that was on the contracted list that the railroad directed the supervisor to go to. New railroad safety legislation prevents railroads from bypassing nearby medical facilities in favor of a clinic or hospital of their selection or preference. In other words, the new 2008 Rail Safety Legislation (not yet signed as of October, 2008, but enactment expected by end of 2008) requires that railroad carry injured workers to the nearest available medical facility rather than the one that is most favorable to their corporate or railroad interest.
The provision in the Senate passed legislation reads:
SEC. 419. PROMPT MEDICAL ATTENTION.
(a) In General- Section 20109 is amended–
(c) Prompt Medical Attention-
(1) PROHIBITION- A railroad carrier or person covered under this section may not deny, delay, or interfere with the medical or first aid treatment of an employee who is injured during the course of employment. If transportation to a hospital is requested by an employee who is injured during the course of employment, the railroad shall promptly arrange to have the injured employee transported to the nearest hospital where the employee can receive safe and appropriate medical care.
(2) DISCIPLINE- A railroad carrier or person covered under this section may not discipline, or threaten discipline to, an employee for requesting medical or first aid treatment, or for following orders or a treatment plan of a treating physician, except that a railroad carrier’s refusal to permit an employee to return to work following medical treatment shall not be considered a violation of this section if the refusal is pursuant to Federal Railroad Administration medical standards for fitness of duty or, if there are no pertinent Federal Railroad Administration standards, a carrier’s medical standards for fitness for duty. For purposes of this paragraph, the term `discipline’ means to bring charges against a person in a disciplinary proceeding, suspend, terminate, place on probation, or make note of reprimand on an employee’s record.
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