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When all goes well, the railroad can be a safe and fulfilling place to work, and many people making a career out of working in stations, in rail yards, on trains and in support roles. As such, they do need to understand the risks that they face on the job. When injuries happen in these settings, they can be very severe.

Different workers may be exposed to different risks or at least different levels of risk, depending on exactly what they do in the course of their employment. That said, some common risks include:

  • Working around high voltage electric lines
  • Getting injured in a derailment
  • Getting injured in a collision between two trains
  • Getting struck by a moving train or train cars
  • Getting pinned between two cars
  • Seeing exposure to toxic chemicals and environmental hazards
  • Tripping and falling or slipping and falling on uneven surfaces
  • Falling from heights, such as from the top of a car
  • Getting assaulted by passengers or other workers

Some of these things sound more dramatic than they may be. For instance, a collision between two trains does not necessarily mean they’re both traveling at high speeds and accidentally end up on the same track. While that does happen, it could also just mean that one train is slowly backed into another by an inattentive crew and a worker gets pinned between the two vehicles.

Dramatic or not, these incidents can lead to severe injuries and workers need to know what rights they have. This is especially true in cases where the injuries are so substantial that they may impact the person’s ability to work and quality of life in the future.