Slip and Fall Injuries
Passage of the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) in 1908 signified the Government’s awareness of the poor working conditions rampant in the railroad industry. FELA gives railroad employees the right to sue their employers for damages due to injury on the job. One of the realities that brought FELA into being is the number of slip and fall injuries that could have been prevented.
Counting the Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries
The Federal Railroad Administration keeps records on railroad accidents, injuries, and incidents at intersections, railroad injuries to employees, etc. According to the FRA, in 2008 there were over 21,000 non-fatal injuries to on-duty railroad employees. Slightly over twenty percent of those were slip and fall injuries. What is remarkable about the details in this thorough chart of employee mishaps is the number of hazards that lie underfoot in railroad yards.
There are five categories for slip and fall incidents in 2008, the largest of which is "other." That means there were too many specific types of slip and fall causes to list separately. The top cause for this type of injury in 2008 was walking or working on ballast. Injuries caused by the footing on ballast amounted to about 25% of all slip and fall injuries reported.
Causes other than Ballast
Other major causes of slip and fall incidents hint at working conditions that are often marginal, at least in some locations. Among the major causes for slip and fall injuries on railroads:
- Oil and/or grease on the ground
- Walking or working on an irregular surface (other than ballast)
- Walking or working on a surface impacted by weather conditions
Several of these itemized causes suggest that railroad workers were asked to do their jobs in areas where the footing was questionable at best. There are preventive measures for oily surfaces, icy surfaces and irregular surfaces; nobody knows that better than supervisory railroad personnel who are charged with maintaining worker safety.
Slipping and falling in a railroad yard, on the tracks or around an operating train can be just the beginning of a serious injury. If you have suffered a slip and fall injury on your railroad job, seek medical attention immediately and, to the degree possible, make a list of all witnesses who were present. You may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses by filing a FELA lawsuit. At Gordon & Elias, L.L.P. we are a law firm that practices FELA railroad injury law nationwide. It is not designated by any specific Union and that is just fine with them. Their goal is to provide excellent representation; only utilize Board Certified Physicians in the medical treatment of their clients; get statements from witnesses and photographs as soon as hired; advance funds, interest free and where ethically permitted, to their clients so they can pay their bills while off of work; and, most importantly, treat their clients like family and with the respect, honor and dignity that they deserve. Call 800-773-6770 to speak to a REAL FELA attorney.