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Apr222014

01:18:12 am

Rail Workers' Health Issues Are A Growing Safety Concern - Latimes.com









911 calls describe chaos in aftermath of deadly bus crash

Severe allergies, heart disease, poor vision, sleep disorders and diabetes as well as use of medicines with serious side effects are among the health issues that can disqualify workers if the conditions can't be adequately controlled. Since 1988, the NTSB has pushed unsuccessfully for similar standards for more than 100,000 locomotive engineers, conductors and other railway workers. But the Federal Railroad Administration, which oversees the industry, has balked at imposing mandatory, comprehensive medical requirements. Working with unions and carriers, the FRA has opted for non-mandatory education programs for rail workers, formal advisory notices and other strategies to reduce risks associated with health problems. "The FRA is committed to ensuring that train operators are fit for duty," said agency spokesman Kevin F. Thompson. The administration "continues to work with labor and industry to comprehensively address standardized medical practices." Currently, engineers and conductors are required to pass vision and hearing tests every three years. In a statement, Union Pacific, which employed the engineer faulted by the NTSB in the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA7tFwm0mFk Goodwell crash, said it complies fully with current federal standards. Train crews also undergo random testing for alcohol and illegal drug use. Railroads typically require physical exams when someone is offered a job, as well as after an extended medical leave or when an employee's health is questioned at work. In addition, railroad medical departments offer wellness programs.
Rail workers' health issues are a growing safety concern - latimes.com




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