An investigation into 2013’s increase in the number of railroad worker deaths has found that some federal workplace safety regulations should also apply to railroads. On September 24, 2014, a report provided by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that there are several differences between regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration that can make it difficult to adhere to each administration’s standards. Included in the report’s recommendations is for the railroad administration to discuss OSHA regulations during roadway workers’ job briefings.
Railroad Worker Deaths Are Serious Concern
The NTSB acknowledged that it conducted the investigation after 15 railroad worker deaths occurred in 2013, compared to five in 2011 and eight in 2012. According to a spokesman for the NTSB, last year was “very, very disturbing.” Accidents such as derailments and train crashes were not included in the study, but the railroad worker deaths had a variety of causes:
- Hit by trains (seven workers)
- Fell from bridges (two)
- Mudslide (one)
- Heat stroke (one)
- Electrocution (one)
- Overturned aerial lift vehicle (one)
- Hit by a car (one)
- Rail that was on moving equipment (one)
According to the spokesman, the NTSB dived deep in an attempt to find a common denominator among the railroad worker deaths. While they were disparate accidents, the NTSB did note several findings and has made 15 recommendations that it feels could improve safety. In addition to OSHA-related recommendations, the NTSB report suggests that the railroad administration revise its national inspection program to place an emphasis on hazard recognition.
The report also calls on railroads to embrace unions in investigations of railroad worker deaths and other train-related accidents. According to the NTSB, union representation can help to facilitate the cooperation of union members and bring operations-specific knowledge to the operations team. At the end of the meeting, the chairman of the NTSB stated that in addition to the recommendations suggested by the report, he wanted to ask that railroad workers look out for each other to not only save their co-workers lives but also their own lives as well.
However, those who have been hurt or injured on a railroad may file for compensation with workers’ compensation, but in some cases, this amount may not be enough to cover the costs of medical treatments, expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The Federal Employer’s Liability Act exists to provide comprehensive protection to railroad employees and their families, and a FELA lawyer can help victims to recover the damages to which they may be entitled.
Have You Been Injured on a Railroad?
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one that was a railroad worker and you wish to learn more about your options, Attorney Group can discuss potential lawsuits, free of charge, with individuals who believe they may have a case. We can help answer questions, and if you decide to seek compensation for your injuries or losses, we can put you in touch with an affiliated attorney who can help seek damages to which you may be entitled. Call today for more information.