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Technology delays could harm Pennsylvania workers

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, only three train companies, one of which is in Pennsylvania, have submitted plans to upgrade safety technology by the end of the year. The technology is called positive train control, and railroad companies throughout the country were expected to have equip their trains with PTC by Dec. 31. The technology relies on a GPS system in addition to other equipment that can automatically slow and stop trains.

This would prevent trains from traveling at unsafe speeds, stop trains from colliding with each other or enter areas where crews may be working on the track. Although Congress passed legislation in 2008 requiring railroads to implement said upgrades, the railroad companies claim to have encountered several hurdles. First, they claim that they were unable to acquire the radio spectrum needed. They also claim that they have had to create the technology from scratch, which has created issues.

Although some in Congress were for extending the deadline, a crash on May 12 made an extension less likely. On that day, an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia, which lead to the deaths of eight people and injured 200 more, including several Amtrak employees. It is believed that the accident would have been avoided if PTC had been implemented on that train. The National Transportation Safety Board has advocated for such technology for 40 years and says that 145 accidents could have been prevented if it were implemented.

Employees who are injured in a workplace accident may be eligible to apply for workers' compensation benefits. Such benefits may pay for medical expenses and provide a percentage of lost wages while the victim is recovering. Many injured workers obtain the assistance of an attorney when preparing and submitting their claims.

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