Railroad work has a long history in this country. In building the arteries of the nation, workers faced risk, injury and even death. It led to the Federal Employers Liability Act in 1908, which still regulates the industry over a century later.
The work itself involves heavy machinery, close contact with moving trains and exposure to chemicals and harmful substances. While the hazards may be more plentiful than an office job, it’s any employer’s responsibility to provide as safe a workspace as possible. Injuries might happen, but many are avoidable.
Busy railways, funding concerns and employee injuries
Our region of the country features many of the largest railroad systems in the US, both freight and commuter rail. Region 1 (as defined by the Federal Railroad Administration) has four of the largest 10 commuter systems in the whole country. Those four also topped a list of 2016 commuter rail accidents, which highlights the dangers of the job.
One major issue is the underfunding of transit, which leads to employers cutting costs elsewhere to keep up with day-to-day operations. Innovation, safety measures and training are common budget cuts in industries that are struggling to keep up with routine operational costs.
Region 1 includes Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Besides commuter rail accidents, there are close to 2,500 annual workplace accidents that injure more than 1,000 employees each year. From 2008 to 2017, there is a startling 48 percent rise in nonfatal employee injuries across Region 1.
Keeping up with regulation and your safety
If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s vital that you seek proper treatment and recovery by filing a claim with FELA. Federal laws can be convoluted and confusing, which is why an attorney knowledgeable in FELA matters can be essential to helping you get the coverage you need. In addition to compensation for your injuries, your workplace may be violating safety procedures necessary to protect you. As we mentioned earlier, all employers need to provide adequate resources for a safe workspace—meeting federal requirements and protocols. When they do not, they aren’t just cutting corners, they’re risking your well-being. By consulting with an experienced railroad attorney, you’ll be able to review your case in full, including taking a closer look at the actions leading to your injury.