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How safe is your Montana railroad job?

Many Montana workers have come from long lines of ancestry where parents, grand-parents and perhaps even great grand-parents have given service to the transcontinental railroads that helped industrialize the United States. You may consider your railroad job both rewarding and challenging. Whether you are an engineer, conductor or work on a line maintenance crew, you may relate to many railroad employees who say they have loved trains since childhood and are happy earning their livings on the tracks.  

It's no secret, however, that railroad work typically ranks high on most lists concerning dangerous jobs in America. The commercial fishing industry, construction work and electrical work also carry high personal risk for injury. Your employer has a serious obligation to help keep you safe. If your employer fails to fulfill this duty, you may suffer injuries that cause partial or full disability.  

How most railroad injuries occur 

There have been numerous railroad disasters in recent years that have taken the lives of many workers, passengers and pedestrians. The following list shows causal factors that many accident analysts frequently report following railroad incidents that result in injuries:  

  • Many railroad accidents occur because of debris lying on tracks or other track-related issues.
  • Railroad employers must see to it that all equipment is functioning properly at all times. There are strict schedules for maintenance upkeep; negligence in this area places all workers and others at risk.
  • A leading factor in a majority of railroad collisions is human error.   
  • Advanced technology allows automated braking systems and computerized maintenance checks on many U.S. rail systems; however, if employers fail to implement available technology, their workers may be the ones to suffer most.
  • Worker fatigue, alcohol and drug use are also high priority concerns that can lead to derailments or other railroad collisions that result in serious injuries to employees, passengers or pedestrians.
  • Lack of proper training or available safety equipment is a serious workplace hazard that puts all railroad employees at risk for injury.

While today's railroads are undoubtedly safer than those from prior eras, there are still many problems associated with employer negligence that can cause you to suffer injury as you carry out your normal course of duty in the workplace. Even minor injuries can cause you to take time off work to recover. More serious injuries may make you permanently unable to return to work. The Federal Employers Liability Act protects your right to seek financial recovery for your losses. 

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Towe & Fitzpatrick, PLLC
619 SW Higgins, Ste. O
P.O. Box 1745
Missoula, MT 59806

Phone: 406-203-5148
Phone: 406-829-1669
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