Railroads have heavily influenced the history of the United States and continue to impact the lives of Americans daily. Trains carry many goods critical to sustaining current ways of life — fuel, food, paper, concrete to build roads, lumber to build homes. It’s easy to forget the importance of railroads in today’s world.
Yet, you and others working on the railroads realize their importance every day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 204,700 people worked in the rail transportation industry in August 2019. Not only do those working in the industry understand how the railroad affects all aspects of a person’s life, but they’re also cognizant of the many hazards of being a railroad worker.
What dangers are associated with the rail transportation industry?
According to the International Railway Safety Council, dangers are commonplace throughout the industry worldwide, but all railroad workers have the right to a safe workplace. However, they frequently encounter occupational hazards. These include the:
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Danger of slips, trips and falls accidents
- Hazard of working around high-voltage electricity and moving trains
If these risks of the job lead to injury or have serious consequences on your life, there may be steps you can take to help you during and after suffering the injury.
What can you do if you’re injured?
Unlike workers in most other industries, railroad workers cannot file for workers’ compensation. Instead, a federal law called the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) protects you if you’re injured while working your railroad job.
FELA applies when injuries such as broken bones, fractures, torn ligaments in the knee or shoulder, burns, asbestos, carpal syndrome and electrical accident injuries occur. It allows hurt employees to seek compensation for any wages lost because of the injury, as well as for both physical and mental suffering. An attorney well-versed in FELA cases could help you understand your case and how to proceed.