Winter weather drastically increases the risks involved in travel. Snow and ice can make airports shut down and turn highways into deadlocked lines of vehicles. Railroads also feel the impact of winter weather.
Ice and snow on tracks can impact everything from how fast trains can safely travel to how easily they stop. Excessive accumulation requires removal for safe passage, and there is always extra risk at intersections with surface roads because of the impact of snow on motor vehicle travel.
Railway workers may have to put in some long, difficult shifts over the winter months. Whether you work in installation, track repair or facility maintenance, you may be at higher risk for injury on the job during the winter months. In some scenarios, injured railway workers may have rights beyond the standard workers’ compensation claim.
The risks of outdoor work and transportation in the winter are well known
There are some scenarios that your employer would have no way of reasonably predicting. Situations involving unpredictable accidents and freak occurrences of weather are risks your employer has little way of predicting or protecting against. However, some dangers on the job are predictable and even cyclical.
Winter weather’s risks for workers and railroad infrastructure alike are known factors. Your employer should have policies in place to minimize the risks to workers and company resources. From limiting the amount of time workers must spend outside to providing proper equipment and warming facilities when outdoor time is inevitable, companies can drastically decrease the likelihood of cold-related health issues for their workers.
Failing to address predictable issues could lead to claims of negligence that might increase what options an injured employee has available to them.
Your rights when employers contribute to your job risk
Whether you suffered a traumatic injury due to equipment that performed improperly on slick surfaces or developed cold-related medical conditions, if you can connect your situation to negligence or lack of care on the part of your employer, you may be able to bring a claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).
Unlike standard workers’ compensation claims, FELA claims require proof of either negligence or some kind of wrongful act on the part of the company involved. A careful review of the situation that led to your injury or illness can give you a better idea about whether or not you may have grounds for a compensation claim.