ALGONA, Iowa – Officials said on Wednesday (March 5) they won’t be releasing the name of a railroad employee injured when he was pinned under a train car on Tuesday near Algona.

Canadian Pacific said it won’t release the worker’s name citing it as an “internal matter.”

Read the complete story at the Globe Gazette.

DOL_laborThe Labor Department wants companies to begin filing all workplace injury and illness reports electronically so they are available for anyone in the public to see.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will announce the plan on Thursday as part of a proposed rule that would dramatically change the way companies file safety records, according to a person familiar with the proposal.

Read the complete story at the Journal Review.

gavelThe case of a Norfolk Southern railroad conductor injured in a Dodge County train accident went all the way to the Georgia State Supreme Court.

On Sept. 23, the state’s highest court ruled that William Zeagler could sue the railroad, because he had not been trained properly for collisions.

Read the complete story at television station WMAZ.


Rail workers may now file biweekly claims for railroad sickness benefits directly online with the Railroad Retirement Board.

The agency said rail workers may now access this online service at by clicking on “Benefit Online Services.”

The RRB implemented a similar system for unemployment benefits in 2004.

First-time users must request a password request code (PRC), which they will receive by regular mail within 10 days. Those who have already established online accounts do not need to do so again.

Railroad employees who miss work due to illness or injury will still have to file a paper form that serves as their initial application for sickness benefits. Once the application is received, they will continue to receive paper-based claim forms, generally for specific 2-week periods, by regular mail.

However, they now have the option of filing the claims online in order to expedite processing and payment.

FELA Update
By Mark Allen
Coordinator of UTU Designated Legal Counsel

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) was enacted by Congress in 1908 to give railroad employees the right, under federal law, to recover damages from their employers for injuries occurring at work.

However, generally, there must be proof of negligence on the part of the railroad that caused or contributed to the employee’s injury. Simply put, this means that the railroad must exercise reasonable care for the safety of its employees. The railroad must provide its employees with a reasonably safe place to work. Its failure to do so is negligence.

The duty to provide a safe place to work includes the furnishing of safe tools and equipment, the selection of proper methods to do the work, the furnishing of sufficient help, and the adoption and enforcement of proper procedures. The railroad may also be negligent if it fails to adopt and enforce safety rules and practices, or by allowing unsafe practices to exist. The fact that unsafe practices and customs are standard in the industry is no defense.

An exception to the requirement for proof of negligence under FELA exists when an injury occurs because the railroad has violated either the Safety Appliance Act or the Locomotive Inspection Act.

The Safety Appliance Act relates to railroad cars and their safety devices and requires devices such as couplers, power brakes, grab irons, etc., to be free from defects. The Locomotive Inspection Act requires that the railroad keep its locomotives and tenders in proper and safe condition.

If the violation of either one of these laws causes injury to an employee, proof of negligence is not required and the railroad is strictly held at fault.

When you have a question about whether an action of the railroad was negligent that caused you injury or whether proof of negligence is required, contact a UTU Designated Legal Counsel. Go to and click on “Designated Legal Counsel” on the left side of the page; or ask your local union officers for the list.