Railroads Have Duty to Protect Employees From Cumulative Injuries
Railroad work is known for being dangerous, and workers commonly suffer serious injuries than can end their careers and even their lives.
While railroad employees have a duty to be careful and protect themselves on the job, their employers owe them an important duty: to provide a safe working environment. When a railroad fails to provide a safe place to work and an employee is injured due to this failure, the employer can be held liable under the provisions of the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).
To be compensated under FELA, the injured employee is required to prove that the employer’s negligence causes his injury. If the injury resulted from a specific accident, FELA cases can sometimes be relatively straightforward, but if a railroader suffers from cumulative trauma or a repetitive stress injury – most commonly to the hips, knees, shoulders, or back – that happens over time, this type of case can be difficult and expensive to prove.
Cumulative Trauma Injuries
If the employee can prove that he suffers from cumulative trauma injury due to his employer’s negligence, he may be entitled to compensation for an occupational disease connected with his employment under FELA. Some common circumstances that can lead to cumulative trauma injuries in railroad workers include:
- Whole-body vibration, which commonly affects railroaders who have spent years sitting and standing on vibrating trains.
- Repetitive motion, which can lead to cumulative trauma in conductors, carmen, trackmen, and brakemen who perform repetitive work activities.
- Sustained body positions including heavy lifting, squatting, kneeling, bending over for long periods of time, and handling awkward loads that result in damage to the knees, hips, and back.
- Toxic substances transported by trains can expose railroaders to a variety of harmful toxins.
- Loud noises in train yards, engine rooms, and on the train itself can result in permanent hearing loss for employees.
No matter the source, these cumulative injuries can have a devastating effect on a railroader’s body over time. If you’re a railroad worker who has suffered a cumulative traumatic injury related to your job, contact Murray & Murray online or call (419) 664-3711 to schedule your initial consultation with one of our railroad injury attorneys today.