Maybe you’re one of many adults Montana who loved trains as a child. Perhaps, you always hoped that trains would still be part of your life when you grew up. If you got a job on a railroad, you might have felt like all your childhood dreams had come true. Railroad work, however, typically ranks high on most lists regarding dangerous jobs in the United States.
Your railroad employer is, of course, legally obligated to provide all necessary information, training and available equipment to help you stay safe on the job. The more you know about potential workplace injuries ahead of time, the better. It’s also a good idea to gain a clear understanding of the Federal Employers Liability Act in case you do suffer injury on the job.
What are the biggest risks?
You might be an engineer, conductor, ticket salesperson or lineman on a Montana railroad. With each job description, there is a certain amount of inherent risk for injury in the workplace. The following list includes some of the most common types of danger the average railroad worker faces on the job:
- Derailments and collisions no doubt present some of the greatest injury risks associated with railroad work.
- Slips, trips and falls are common injuries you’ll want to try to avoid as best you can while working on a railroad. At a station, there may be elevators, stairwells and other areas that increase the risk for these types of injuries to occur.
- If you work on the tracks, you may face exposure to high voltage electricity. This presents a tremendous risk for injury.
- Companies often use trains to transport dangerous products, such as liquified gases, nuclear waste, chemicals or petrol. Exposure to such products places railroad workers at risk for injury.
Certain areas along a railway may be more dangerous than others as well. For instance, during your training, you no doubt learned about railroad crossings and how many accidents occur when motorists try to beat a train by darting across the tracks then getting stuck.
Recovering from a railroad injury
Railroad work can be quite demanding both physically and mentally. You might also be at risk for repetitive strain injuries if your duties on the railroad include remaining in one position for long periods of time or performing the same action over and over again. This is why it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of RSI and report a problem to your employer immediately.
If you suffer injury on the job at a railroad company, you might have to take a lot of time off work during recovery. Railroad employers do not purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Instead, all injury claims are processed under the FELA.