Rail Workers Demand Protection At East Palestine After Multiple Fall Ill Following Chemical Spill

Mar 4, 2023 | Political News

Norfolk Southern has found itself the focus of a new controversy following the disastrous East Palestine train derailment and chemical fire. Jonathon Long, the general chairman of the American Rail System Federation, has presented allegations that 40 Norfolk Southern maintenance-of-way employees tasked with cleaning up the wreckage were neither offered nor provided with “appropriate personal protective equipment.”

The allegations were raised in letters to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) from Long.

According to The Blaze, the Personal Protective Equipment not offered to the workers referenced in the Union's letter includes: “respirators that are designed to permit safely working around vinyl chloride, eye protection and protective clothing such as chemical restraint suits, rubber overboots and rubber gloves rated for safely working around the spilled chemicals that prevent direct contact with such substances.”

Long explained in his letters,

“When some of the NS Workers inquired about the appropriateness of their personal protective equipment and the safety of their working conditions, they would receive little or no response from NS officials.”

He added, “One Worker shared with me that he called his supervisor and requested to be transported off the derailment site due to concerns about his safety caused by the exposure to the chemicals which were causing him nausea and migraines; the supervisor stated he would get back to the Employee, but he never heard back from his supervisor and the Employee was left on the job site.”


Disturbingly he claimed, “Many other Employees reported that they continue to experience migraines and nausea, days after the derailment, and they'll suspect that they were willingly exposed to these chemicals and the direction of NS.”

In a similar letter to DeWine, he wrote that action needs to be taken “before more trains go off the rails in communities like East Palestine and endure the sorrows that follow such senseless, preventable disasters.”

“[Norfolk Southern] has pierced itself, but it has somehow left communities like East Palestine and the NS Workers with the many sorrows,” Long said in the letter. “This is immoral, and it is all because of the railroad's cost-cutting business model that disregards the sanctity of human life for the sake of more record profits.”

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