When you first began working as a railroad employee, you may have learned two lessons very quickly. First, you are not covered by workers' compensation law for injuries suffered while on duty. Second, your job is very dangerous. While it may seem to make no sense that a risky job would not include workers' compensation benefits, you do have options for seeking compensation if you suffer a work-related injury resulting from your employer's failure to comply with federal safety regulations.
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) provides a process for seeking compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses following a railroad accident. However, you must prove your employer's liability. One important element in your case may be the safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Because you work around heavy equipment and massive moving parts, any accident has the potential for catastrophic or even fatal injuries. Under OSHA regulations, in certain railroad work situations, your employer must meet certain safety standards to protect you and your co-workers from injury. If OSHA standards do not apply, Federal Railroad Safety Standards, as well as a host of other federal rules and regulations probably apply.
If you believe your employer is in violation of OSHA or other federal standards, you have various rights to pursue correction of those violations, to make the workplace safe.
If OSHA or the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) sends an agent to inspect the hazard or violation, your employer may be cited and compelled to take action. If you, or any of your co-workers, suffer an injury because your employer did not successfully mitigate a known hazard, OSHA and FRA inspection reports may become a critical piece of evidence in any FELA claim arising from such injury.
Do not fight alone
It is not always easy to determine who is liable in a workplace accident. However, since your chances for receiving the compensation you deserve depend on this determination, you will certainly want access to every available resource for proving your case. This includes any inspection reports OSHA or the FRA may have on file.
You may also find a valuable resource when you reach out for assistance from an attorney who has knowledge and experience in FELA claims and workplace accidents. Such an attorney can inform you of your rights and fight aggressively to help you meet your needs following a railroad injury.