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New Orleans Louisiana FELA And Railroad Injury Legal Blog

Railroad injury risks seem to change with age

If you work on a Louisiana railroad, you may enjoy a career that spans several decades. In fact, like many railroad workers, you might come from a long line of family members who also earned their livings on the railroad. It's no secret that railroad work often ranks high among the most dangerous jobs in the nation.  

Your employer can help you lower your risk for injury by providing proper training and safety equipment, adhering to regulations and fulfilling all employer-based obligations that are safety-related. Interestingly, your age may also have an impact on your risk for injury, at least for the types of injuries you are most at risk for at a given time. 

Is your physical pain caused by your railroad job?

When you think of occupational hazards on a Louisiana railroad, you might automatically think of train wrecks, derailments and other catastrophic incidents that often place railroad employees at risk for injury. However, not every injury involves a locomotive accident. In fact, sometimes, railroad workers develop adverse health conditions while simply carrying out their everyday tasks and duties on the job.  

Repetitive strain injuries are common in many types of work. It is critical that you know how to recognize the signs of possible injury and also that you know where to seek support if a problem arises. In some situations, employer negligence is a causal factor toward railroad employee injury, in which case it's a good idea to connect with legal support as well.  

Not all railroad injuries occur in collisions

Have you been working on a Louisiana railroad for so long that you barely have to think about your job to do it? Of course, even if you could do your job blindfolded, many railroad positions are inherently dangerous, and you no doubt exert much focus and attention to your tasks to keep yourself and others safe.

However, if your job involves repeated tasks, perhaps in a ticket office or train yard, you may be at risk for repetitive stress injuries. While such injuries may not be as catastrophic as those often suffered in derailments, they can still cause serious pain and temporary or permanent disability. The more you know about repetitive stress injuries ahead of time, the easier you will recognize a problem if one arises.

Occupational safety: What are your employer's obligations?

If you earn a living on a Louisiana railroad, you may work as a conductor, engineer, line person, baggage handler, cook, ticket agent or other occupation. While some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others are, all railroad work can sometimes place you at risk for injury. New headlines often focus on derailments and other serious accidents where passengers or workers lose their lives or suffer burns, head trauma, back injuries or other adverse conditions.

However, behind-the-scenes work on the railroad can also be quite dangerous. Your occupational safety relies on several factors, including but not limited to your employer's obligation to ensure a safe work atmosphere. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversees railroad safety. You should know several things regarding OSHA and workplace safety, including where to seek support if you suffer injury on the job.

Did a day on the railroad lead to a night in the hospital?

You may be one of many Louisiana railroad workers who have loved trains your entire life. Going to work every day felt at first like going to a grandiose station where you could indulge in your heart's passion, that is, until the mundane duties of everyday job life settled in; then, it became just another day at work. Still, you were glad you because you were earning a decent living doing something you enjoyed.  

Train work is arguably one of the most dangerous types of employment in the nation. You must be especially proactive if you hope to avoid injury. The more you learn about safety, the better. Your employer is obligated to provide proper training and safety equipment to help keep you safe on the job. If your employer is negligent, you will want to make sure you fully understand the FELA process. It also helps to memorize common safety tips and make them good habits.  

Did lack of training lead to your railroad injury?

Working on a Louisiana railroad can be adventurous, challenging, rewarding and downright dangerous, all at the same time. As in other industries, your railroad employers have an obligation to make sure you have proper training before placing you on duty in any rail system capacity. They must also provide all available equipment to help keep you and your co-workers as safe as possible.  

It's no secret that lack of training and employer negligence often lead to worker injuries. If you're involved in a railroad accident, you may have to take a lot of time off work in recovery. Hopefully, your injuries have not caused permanent disability. If they have, you may need special assistance, such as at-home nursing care or other types of aid. When employer negligence is a factor, you may seek financial recovery under the Federal Employers Liability Act.  

Were regulations violated when you sustained a railroad injury?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration may have stepped in to investigate soon after the railroad accident that caused your injuries occurred. This is because OSHA safety regulations apply to railroad work as well as other types of industries. OSHA exists within the Department of Labor, and its main purpose is to help reduce workplace hazards and create health and safety programs. The agency may cite your Louisiana employer for violating federal regulations if investigators determine something was not up to par when your accident happened.  

OSHA was formed out of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. As a railroad employee, you have certain rights under OSHA. Other federal regulations may also apply in your situation, such as the Boiler Inspection Act. You'll likely have to take one day at a time as you recuperate from your injuries. Hopefully, you have a strong support team who are fully equipped and ready to assist you. It's also good to clarify your rights as you plan your course of action to seek the fullest recovery possible.       

What does FELA have to do with me?

No matter how short a time you have worked in the railroad industry, you are already aware of the differences between this job and any other job you have held. For one thing, you can't beat the pay, but you may already know how difficult railroad work is on your personal life.

Another big difference between working for the railroad and just about any other job is the constant danger. Railroad injuries are often catastrophic. If you have ever witnessed an accident on the job, you know that if it is not life-ending, it is often career-ending. This is why railroads have a very different system for dealing with workplace injuries.

Things to know about railroad safety and FELA

Do you work on a Louisiana railroad? Whether your job is on a commuter train, a passenger locomotive or a freight train, you're undoubtedly aware of the risk for personal injury involved in your line of work. Hopefully, your employer has provided necessary training and all available equipment and resources to help keep you and your co-workers as safe as possible.

Recent years have brought significant advances in modern technology that shows great promise for its ability to help prevent railroad accidents. There will never be a way to completely eliminate the risk, however. That's why it's wise for anyone in your line of work (as well as those who travel on trains as passengers) to research ways to help prevent injury. It's especially prudent as a railroad employee to familiarize yourself with the Federal Employers Liability Act if you haven't already done so. It is key to seeking recovery for your losses if you suffer injury on the job.

What happens when I make a FELA claim?

When you accepted the job as a rail worker, you probably learned that any injuries you suffer during the course of your duties are not covered by workers' compensation as they are in most other industries. The federal government understood the inherent dangers of your job, so Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act to ensure your employer always takes the utmost care in protecting your safety.

FELA claims differ from workers' compensation in that you address them directly to your employer or through a civil lawsuit if you can show that negligence on their part caused your injuries. The point is to hold railroad companies to the highest standard of safety by making them liable for workers who suffer injuries due to preventable hazardous conditions. If you suffer injuries as a rail worker, there are steps you must follow to file a claim through FELA.

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