Working on the railroad has always been a dangerous enterprise. Railroad workers face many hazards on a daily basis, from fatigue and dangerous cargo to broken rail tracks and unhealthy environments.
A more insidious risk faced by railroad workers across the United States is that of poisonous chemicals entering their bodies from their work surroundings. Diesel exhausts, asbestos, and benzene are common chemical byproducts present in the workspace for a railroad worker.
A Job Surrounded by Dangerous Chemicals
Industrial workplaces are filled with toxic chemicals, and railroads are no different. Even though railroad companies have known that chemicals like asbestos and benzene are harmful to their employees, they still continued to use them in construction materials, cleaning solvents, insulation, railroad equipment, and brake components.
Liquid benzene is used as a solvent to clean tools and machinery. Benzene is known to be carcinogenic to humans, causing blood cancers like leukemia. Asbestos is found in train brakes and welding rods used for maintenance. It is known to cause mesothelioma, a cancer of the outer lining of the stomach lungs and heart, and lung cancer, the second-most common cancer in the U.S. A study also found that railroad workers were three times as likely to die of mesothelioma than the general public.
Diesel fumes are ever-present around older engines and have caused a variety of lung diseases, including lung cancer.
The Responsibility of the Employer
The health of workers is the responsibility of the employer. Workers risk their health and lives to work difficult jobs, and must be taken care of by their employers.
Federal protection is granted to railroad workers in the form of the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), enacted in 1908. According to this Act, railroad carriers must compensate employees who suffer any injuries because of employer negligence. If the railroad worker died in an accident, the railroad company is liable to their family.
91,100 workers were employed as railroad workers in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Major companies such as Amtrak, Union Pacific, and BNSF employ these workers, but fail to provide them healthy work environments. In recent times, there has even been news of trains being run with one-man crews.
A company making profits while neglecting the health and well-being of its workers is unconscionable. Society must ensure that hard-working employees are protected and get the justice they deserve if they suffer in the line of work.
Pintas & Mullins works hard to fight for the rights of railroad workers and get them the compensation they deserve. Know that our legal team is here to provide their expertise and support if you are a railroad worker suffering due to a cancer diagnosis. Reach out today at (800) 614-1485 for a free case review. You don’t need any money to hire us, and we only get paid if we win you a settlement or verdict.