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Reporting Hazardous Safety Conditions to Your Railroad Employer

Railroad workers are often exposed to dangerous conditions that result in significant injuries and illnesses. Often, workers recognize the potential for danger but are afraid to do anything about it because they fear retaliation from their employers or contractors.

The Federal Rail Safety Act provides significant protections to employees who lawfully report a hazardous safety or security condition. Specifically, any railroad carrier engaged in interstate (or foreign) commerce cannot discharge, demote, suspend, reprimand, or in any other way discriminate against an employee for:

  • Good-faith reporting of a hazardous condition.
  • Refusal to work when confronted with a hazardous condition, provided the refusal is made in good faith and there is no reasonable alternative to the refusal. A refusal is made in good faith if: when confronted with a situation similar or identical to the one facing the employee, a reasonable person would conclude that there was an imminent danger of death or serious injury; the urgency of the situation does not allow sufficient time to eliminate the danger without a refusal; and the employee, if possible, has notified the employer of the hazardous condition and his own refusal to work until the condition is fixed.


Railroad employees are in a unique position to protect themselves, their coworkers, and train passengers from serious railroad accidents. The New York and New Jersey railroad injury attorneys of Hofmann & Schweitzer encourage railroad employees to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and to call one of our NJ or NY train accident lawyers if you've been hurt in an accident. 

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