EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — A rail union leader revealed new safety concerns at the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment site after some workers fell ill during the cleanup process.
The union is demanding action and immediate answers regarding the derailment and safety protocols in place.
Jonathan Long, the general chairman of the American Rail System Federation, sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine pleading with him to do something before an even bigger tragedy occurs.
The letter states that Norfolk Southern instructed 40 of its maintenance employees to come to the site and begin cleaning up the wreckage. It also says that employees continue to experience migraines and nausea after being willingly exposed to the chemicals at the direction of Norfolk Southern. Long also wrote in his letter that workers cleaning up in East Palestine were not provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment such as respirators, eye protection or protective clothing.
Norfolk Southern has disputed the claims about the lack of PPE provided.
In a statement, the company said they were on-scene immediately after the derailment and coordinated their response with hazardous materials professionals who were on site continuously to ensure the work area was safe to enter and that the required PPE was utilized, in addition to air monitoring that was established within an hour.
Congress is expected to hear testimony from the CEO of Norfolk Southern Railroad next week over the derailment and the company's involvement in recovery efforts.
Committees in the house and senate are both expected to hold hearings on the derailment.
This article was written by Scripps News Cleveland.