Among the many hazards that railroad workers regularly encounter is diesel exhaust. Long-term exposure to diesel exhaust can cause many health problems, including pulmonary disorders such as asthma. Getting the assistance of a railroad asthma lawyer can be a critical step in holding your employer responsible for your injuries suffered at work. Perhaps you have had to retire or are having difficulty continuing work after an asthma diagnosis. Whatever the case may be, exposure to diesel while working in the railroad industry may be a result of employer negligence. Railroad companies should be held liable if they caused you harm. An experienced railroad injury lawyer may be able to evaluate your situation and determine whether you have a valid claim for damages against your employer.
Can Diesel Exhaust Cause Asthma?
Trains run on diesel fuel, which necessarily subjects most railroad workers to diesel fumes daily. Even though railroads have known for decades about the health risks of diesel exhaust exposure, many companies still have failed to take steps to protect their workers. When railroad employers are negligent in ensuring that their employers do not suffer injuries or illnesses, they may be liable for the resulting harm.
For instance, although laws prohibit diesel exhaust from flowing into the cabs of locomotives, these cabs often are lined with soot, gas, and dust that collects on all surfaces. No amount of cleaning and taping up cracks can wholly prevent the diesel exhaust from coming through and reaching the workers, especially in older and less energy-efficient trains. Likewise, railroad workers who work in railyards alongside running diesel engines are likely to inhale diesel exhaust regularly.
Railroad workers also may experience various diesel-powered machines in areas with poor ventilation, including backhoes and ballast regulators. When combined with nearby diesel exhaust from trains and other toxic materials, like creosote, silica, and asbestos, railroad workers may inhale hazardous mixtures of fumes. The outcome for these workers can include the development of asthma, but also other pulmonary diseases.
Common Asthma Symptoms
Railroad workers who have developed occupational asthma can exhibit various symptoms of the disease. Some of these symptoms may include:
- Wheezing and difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
While workers can get medications to treat and control asthma, continued exposure to diesel exhaust may result in constant asthma attacks and flare-ups. In many cases, railroad workers diagnosed with asthma no longer will be able to work in the railroad industry. When this situation occurs, ill workers may wish to call on a railroad asthma attorney for advice and guidance.
How Can Railroad Employees Recover Compensation?
When occupational asthma affects railroad workers so that they no longer can be around diesel fumes, they may be unable to work in their previous jobs. They may need retraining in some instances to find work, or in other situations, may be unable to work at all. If employer negligence led to railroad workers getting asthma, then they may be entitled to compensation under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA).
FELA is the only means of compensation that injured, or ill railroad workers can pursue. They are not entitled to worker’s compensation benefits like regular employees. Under FELA, railroad workers who have developed asthma must prove that their employers were negligent in causing their disease to qualify for compensation.
Railroad companies have a duty too keep their workers safe and protect them from occupational diseases and injuries while on the job. Failing to protect them from diesel exhaust exposure adequately can lead to asthma, pulmonary diseases, and other medical conditions, as well. For instance, negligence might include failing to provide proper ventilation in locomotive cabs or failing to furnish appropriate safety gear for workers.
Reach Out to a Railroad Asthma Attorney Today
Diesel-induced asthma and other pulmonary disorders may shorten your working years drastically. In some cases, these diseases even can be fatal. If you have suffered asthma or other illnesses while working for a railroad, an experienced attorney could help your case.
By consulting with a knowledgeable railroad asthma lawyer, you can determine whether you have a FELA claim for damages against your employer. With legal advice, you can explore your options for relief and work toward getting the compensation that you need. Get started today.