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Dangerous Working Conditions

Federal regulations must be followed to ensure the safety of railroad workers. Working conditions are especially important in potentially dangerous working environments such as those commonly found in the railroad industry. The Federal government has acknowledged this by granting the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) power to oversee and regulate railroad working conditions. To aid the FRA, legislation has been passed to provide a regulatory framework for workplace safety. This legislation includes the Hours of Service Act.

Hours of Service Act

This act grants FRA the authority to prevent railroad employees from working excessive hours. It also stipulates that the FRA is responsible for regulating the conditions of employee sleeping quarters.

Locomotive Cab Working Conditions:

  • Working conditions include those inside the locomotive cab. The FRA issued a “Railroad Safety Advisory Committee Task Statement: Locomotive Cab Working Conditions”. The committee’s task was to:
  • “Evaluate the extent to which environmental, sanitary, and other working conditions in locomotive cabs affect the crew’s health and the safe operation of locomotives. For issues involving ergonomics, investigate the possibility and/or feasibility of effective improvements in the design, location, and construction of locomotive control compartments to achieve an optimum environment under normal operating conditions, and to enhance the safety of cab occupants in the event of collisions or derailments.”
  • Noise, sanitary facilities, vibration, temperature and ergonomics were all aspects of the working conditions considered by the FRA advisory committee.
  • Working conditions also extend to railroad bridges and walkways along railroad tracks, rail yards, maintenance facilities and repair bays. The physical condition of these areas and facilities, as well as the safety practices and training necessary to work in them, is a critical component of providing a safe workplace.

Ballast

The bed for railroad tracks is made up of coarse gravel or crushed rock called ballast. This covers most of the areas in train yards and along rail right-of-ways. It can make footing unsure for railroad workers and it can become the cause of injury to the spine, legs, ankles, feet, knees and hips. This unsure footing can also be very risky while working around moving trains.

If you have been injured as a result of unsafe working conditions regulated by these railroad safety regulations, you may be covered by the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Contact a qualified railroad accident lawyer to learn more about your rights. Arnold & Itkin LLP lawyers have successfully represented victims injured in railroad accidents. We can help you build a strong and persuasive case as quickly as possible.

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