Legal Guidance for Railroad Employees in Longview
As the need for food, fuel, and building supplies grew across the United States in the early 1900s, so did the U.S. railroad industry. In the past century, railroad workers provided the means for many cities across the nation to grow and develop into the urban communities that they are today.
Unfortunately, railway work involves many of the same risks that employees encountered 100 years ago. Working on railroads is a dangerous job, and railroad workers are susceptible to injuries and illness. One of the most devastating illnesses suffered by railroad employees is mesothelioma.
Asbestos Exposure & Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is typically caused by exposure to asbestos, a fibrous mineral once used in building materials. For many years, builders used asbestos to create fire-resistant materials, such as insulation and brake lining. Today, researchers know that asbestos is a leading contributor to mesothelioma.
Who Is at Risk?
Certain railroad jobs place workers at a higher risk of asbestos exposure than others. Common jobs include:
- Conductors / Yardmasters – Responsible to cording passenger and freight trains, including inspections to make sure that the machinery is working properly.
- Engineers / Operators – Ensure that the trains travel safely to and from locations. These workers are responsible to operate brakes, signals, and switches.
- Maintenance / Equipment Operators – Repair and maintain train tracks and machinery, including locomotives. Also responsible for electrical and plumbing.
These jobs, and others in the railroad industry, come with intrinsic risks. One of these risks is asbestos exposure. Although asbestos is no longer used freely in building and manufacturing, it is still found in older machines. In fact, many companies in the railroad industry continued to use asbestos after the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) revealed that the material was dangerous.
How Are Railroad Employees Exposed to Asbestos?
Railroad workers may suffer exposure to asbestos in a variety of ways. Some of the most common forms of exposure include:
- Locomotive parts, including brakes, brake lining, and floors and ceilings of cars.
- Insulation near boilers, around the outside of the engine, or around pipe coverings.
- Railroad equipment, such as plaster, gaskets, sealing cement, and cement ties.
Mesothelioma Under FELA
Railroad employees are not covered by workers’ compensation. Instead, they are protected and compensated through FELA, the Federal Employers Liability Act. When the American railroad industry boomed at the turn of the 20th century, Congress enacted FELA to give railroad workers the legal protection that they need after a serious on-the-job injury or illness.
Through FELA, injured and sick workers can seek help with their medical expenses and noneconomic damages. Additionally, FELA allows family members of a deceased railroad employee to pursue a wrongful death claim and seek lost earnings, funerary expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Contact our Law Firm for the Legal Guidance You Need
If you or someone you love developed a serious illness after working near asbestos in the railroad industry, you can seek assistance from Sloan, Bagley, Hatcher, Perry, Runge, Robertson and Smith Law Firm. Our Longview railroad injury lawyers are committed to helping our clients. Call our office today to learn more about your rights. We serve clients in Longview, Houston and all of East Texas.