COLUMBUS—Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) testified for three railroad and rail yard safety bills in the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee: Senate Bill 74, Senate Bill 89, and Senator Bill 90. These bills in their entirety would create basic safety standards to improve the workplace for railroad workers and help protect thousands of Ohioans who live and work near railroads.

“My top priority this General Assembly and for the past 40 years has been to protect workers’ rights. Each of these bills help accomplish this essential goal,” said Senator Yuko. “Ensuring that railroad workers have adequate lighting, quality walkways, and enough crew support to carry out their duties in a safe manner should be an indisputable goal for any workplace.”

The unifying theme of each of these bills is workplace safety, but each touch on a different component. Senate Bill 74 would require all freight trains to be operated by a crew of at least two individuals. Senate Bill 89 would establish standards for lighting in a rail yard and establish penalties for railroad companies that are in violation. Senate Bill 90 would establish standards for walkways in a rail yard and establish penalties for railroad companies that are in violation of those standards.

“These pieces of legislation are a win-win solution for both the employees and employers of railroad companies,” said Senator Yuko. “They will not only help deter workplace injuries but also help increase workplace productivity.” 

All of these bills are backed by the SMART union. SMART represents the men and women working in the field who know firsthand the safety needs of their workplace.

State Senator Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) is a joint sponsor on each piece of legislation and gave supplementary testimony to the bills as well.  

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