Workplace hazards have always been par for the course for railroad workers in California and across the country. This is underscored by the numbers of Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) injury claims that are filed each year. Although improving the safety of these workers remains an ongoing process, many hazards can never be totally eliminated.
While rail travel is statistically one of the safest modes of transportation, railway workers have a relatively high incidence of injury and fatality on the job. The dangers come in many forms:
- Train collisions and derailments
- High-voltage electricity
- Hazards of working around moving trains
- Cranes and heavy equipment
- Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injuries
- Dangerous cargo (liquefied gas, anhydrous ammonia, nuclear waste)
Though less common, rail workers are also vulnerable to physical assault from passengers or the public. And railroad employees may suffer post-traumatic stress and other psychological trauma from the aftermath when people are killed at grade crossings or use train tracks to end their life.
Proving that the employer failed to prioritize safety
The railroad industry has adopted many safety measures, from high-visibility clothing and safety training to positive train control and technological innovations that warn track workers of approaching trains. Yet, accidents and injuries still happen because of the serious dangers of the job.
Unlike workers’ compensation in “civilian” jobs, railroad injury claims under FELA require proof that the employer was negligent. This can be a high bar to overcome, especially if the employer tries to blame the worker.
Railroad workers in California who suffer work-related injuries might have questions about their right to compensation, and the procedures to follow to obtain benefits. Legal counsel can provide all the answers. Furthermore, an attorney with experience in navigating FELA injury claims can provide the necessary support and guidance in pursuit of maximum applicable benefits.