Exposure to silica and its derivatives is a major hazard associated with working on any of the railroads. While this hazard mostly affects members of maintenance of way crews, being in close proximity to these substances could result in illnesses or injuries to any railroad worker. While many of these injuries may be unavoidable, this does not mean that you are entitled to compensation. Unlike most other industries, railroads do not need to provide workers’ compensation protection to their employees. Instead, an injured railroad worker must directly sue their employers for the compensation needed to make them whole again. A railroad silica lawyer may be able to help you to pursue these claims. They can help to gather the evidence of employer negligence, to connect your losses to silica exposure, and to protect your interests during settlement talks and in court. Speak to a railroad injury attorney to learn about how they can help.
How Dangerous is Silica?
Silica is a common component in soil, sand, granite, and other minerals. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, silica can often circulate in the air after workers use tools to smooth rocks or other silicate-containing materials. Conductors may inhale these silicates when using sand to assist in braking. This causes the silicates to become so small that they can penetrate a person’s lung cells upon inhalation.
Maintenance of way employees may also face exposure to silica. Workers employed in building or maintaining track face silica exposure when dumping ballast or smoothing rail surfaces. Similar hazards could affect trackmen and machine operators who are near laborers laying track beds.
What Are The Effects of Exposure to Silicates?
The effects of exposure to silicates could be devastating. These minute rock particles are so small that neither the nose nor mouth can prevent them from entering the lungs. Prolonged exposure could result in a condition called silicosis. This affects a person’s ability to breathe, resulting in shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, or even death. A knowledgeable railroad silica lawyer could help employees currently suffering from silicosis to connect their condition to their time working on the railroad.
When an Employer May be Liable
A diagnosis of silicosis is a serious matter. However, even if a worker can demonstrate that employment by the railroad caused their condition, this may not qualify them for compensation.
Railroad workers are one of a few classes of employees not covered under workers’ compensation laws. Instead, they must directly sue their employers for their damages under the Federal Employers Liability Act. This act states that state courts and Federal District Courts share jurisdiction to hear cases alleging personal injury connected to time working for a railroad. With a few caveats, an injured railroad worker can choose between litigating in state or federal court.
To win these cases, the plaintiff’s silica attorney must be able to show that their employer’s negligence caused their condition. This can include demonstrating that employers violated the rules concerning permissible exposure limits, or that a failure on the part of the employer to provide proper training caused unnecessary risks of harm. A seasoned silicosis lawyer could help employees to understand their rights under the law and to pursue negligent employers for damages in court.
Speak to a Railroad Silica Attorney Today
The damages that result from exposure to silicates may be significant. Breathing in these minute dust particles can have a catastrophic effect on your health and ability to breathe. This can necessitate months or years of medical treatment as well as jeopardize your ability to earn a living.
If a railroad company’s negligence was the cause of your exposure, you may have the right to demand compensation. A railroad silica lawyer may be able to help your case. They understand the laws that govern exposure to silica for all workplaces as well as the obligations of all employers to provide a safe place to work. They can help to gather evidence of negligence needed to prove a case in court against your railroad employer. Contact a railroad silica lawyer today to make an appointment.