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(Source: OSHA/ Department of Labor press release, August 9, 2023)

After several U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety and health investigations at the East Palestine, Ohio, site where a Norfolk Southern Corp. train derailed in February 2023, the train’s operator has entered into a settlement agreement with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division-International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

On Feb. 2, 2023, the train derailment caused a 49 railcar pile-up, including 11 tank cars of hazardous chemicals. The chemicals ignited and the pile-up burned for several days.

In response to a referral from the U.S. Department of Transportation, OSHA opened enforcement inspections on March 2, 2023, to assess the union’s concerns for the health of workers rebuilding tracks and conducting clean-up operations near the derailment site.

“This agreement will improve the safety and health controls in place for Norfolk Southern employees who responded and help educate the rail operator’s employees on the lessons learned so they are prepared should another emergency occur,” explained OSHA Area Office Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland. “We are pleased by the collaborative safety and health efforts of Norfolk Southern Corp, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division and contractors from the clean-up site who have been working together on this site remediation.”

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