As a railroad worker, you may be tasked with helping to make sure that cargo reaches its destination, or perhaps you help passengers as they travel. In either case, you have to think about your safety as well as your job performance.
One of the scariest prospects for a railroad worker is a train derailing. So, how likely is it that a train will derail and just how dangerous is this type of accident?
These accidents are rare but can be deadly
Train travel is largely considered to be safer than driving. However, accidents do happen, and they have the potential to be catastrophic. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, in 2016 alone, 786 lives were lost in train accidents. Many of these were due to derailments.
It is important to note that many train journeys do not involve passengers. Trains also cover a lot of ground in rural areas, where few people are around. This can reduce the number of fatalities and injuries suffered in accidents. However, on such trips, workers are still at risk of injury.
How do derailments happen?
There are a number of factors that contribute to train derailments, with the leading cause being track-related issues. Track geometry, broken welds and other track-related faults are associated with more than half of train derailments in the U.S.
Human error can also play a role. For instance, if speed limits are not obeyed, this places the crew in significant danger. Sometimes, catastrophic accidents occur simply due to a breakdown in communication.
Nobody can control what the environment is going to do. Snow, flooding, storms and high winds all increase the potential of an accident occurring.
As a railroad worker, you have a right to work in an environment that is as safe as possible. If you have been injured in a work-related incident, there may be a route open for you to obtain compensation for the harm you have suffered.