Trains and the rail system have been incredibly important across American history, and there is something nostalgic about “working on the railroad.” The importance of the industry continues today, and it can be a very fulfilling and useful career.
Unfortunately, it can also be a rather dangerous career. There are a lot of inherent risks. You need to know what these risks are and what to do if you get injured.
A hazardous workplace environment is inescapable for railroad workers
You do have some obvious hazards, such as train derailments or two trains ending up on the same track. While these issues are popular in movies and TV shows, and they do happen in real life, they are not all that common. More daily risks that workers face just come from working in a hazardous environment where they could be:
- Asked to work in unsafe train cars
- Exposed to hazardous chemicals, dust and particles
- Caught between two cars or two vehicles
- Asked to work at unsafe heights
- Required to work on tracks with moving trains
- Told to work under railcars when making repairs and performing other tasks
- Asked to use winches and other powered mechanical devices
Any time that you work around heavy equipment, there is a risk. If even the smallest thing goes wrong, it can lead to a catastrophic accident. This doesn’t have to be a major event that makes the news, like a derailment. It could be as simple as a train car rolling back a few feet or a winch catching a worker’s clothes. If you get injured on your railroad job, you need to know what rights you have.