Protecting Whistleblowers & The Injured

Asbestos exposure continues to threaten railroad workers

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2023 | Railroad Injuries

Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral used in various commercial and industrial products because of its incredible resistance to both heat and corrosion. The government has since restricted its usage after the discovery of its harmful effects on the human body. Despite the restrictions, however, it continues to threaten many railroad workers.

The dangers of asbestos

Asbestos-containing products often release particles of fibrous, needle-like crystals that humans might inhale. These crystals usually stay in the lungs and, over time, can increase a person’s risk of developing various chronic and life-threatening diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

These harmful effects led the U.S. government to restrict the use of many asbestos products during the late 1980s. The government continues to regulate it to this day.

Asbestos and railroad workers

The ability of asbestos to resist heat and corrosion made it popular in the railroad industry back in the day. Steam and diesel locomotive builders used it as insulation in boilers, engines, electrical panels and other areas exposed to high temperatures. Some boiler and firebox parts also used parts that contained the mineral.

Asbestos was also in the following parts and products:

  • Brake pads, linings and clutches
  • Paint
  • Sealants
  • Plaster
  • Gaskets

Although the railroad sector now tends to avoid asbestos, railroad employees working on old trains and locomotive parts might still encounter the mineral. Those who repair and maintain electrical, air conditioning, heating, plumbing and other systems that traditionally used parts containing asbestos are of particular risk.

Handling asbestos is risky, so railroad workers need to exercise caution, follow best practices and wear protective clothing while on the job. For those who suffer injuries and illness because of their occupation, an attorney can help them understand and fight for their right to a safe workplace.

Train Law

The Rail