Is Railroad Work Becoming More Dangerous?
Reduced crew levels on trains in recent years mean we read about fewer accidents involving railroad workers.
But that’s not to say the railroads are getting safer. Concerns about fiery crashes involving oil trains have fueled fears they may be becoming more dangerous.
And the reduction of crews on some of these trains may be making accidents more likely.
Last year, railroad workers from across the country aired their concerns about these fuel trains at a conference in Chicago.
Chicago is a major hub for fuel trains carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale in North Dakota to different parts of the country.
Two years ago, a CSX train carrying highly volatile crude oil derailed in Lynchburg in Virginia, causing a massive fire. Fortunately, nobody was injured. These trains travel through Richmond and Williamsburg to an oil terminal in Yorktown.
The conference hosted by the progressive labor group Railroad Workers United in Chicago united concerned railroad workers and local residents who are concerned about safety on the railroads.
There have been a series of accidents involving oil trains. Many of the tank cars that are used are old and prone to rupture. In 2013, a parked oil train took off and crashed in the town of Lac-Mégantic in Quebec, Canada, killing 47 and causing massive damage and environmental devastation.
The fact the train was operated by a single man may have been a factor in this terrible accident.
Union members claimed the staffing and management made by the big railroads are controlled by the bottom line rather than the needs and rights of railroad workers.
The National Transportation Safety Board blamed a defective rail on the Lynchburg crash. The rail had been discovered the day before the derailment occurred but it had not been scheduled for repair until the day after the accident, reported the News & Advance.
Railroad workers who are hurt on the job can make a claim against their employer under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers our veteran railroad accident attorneys have helped many workers to make claims. John Cooper has national credentials in FELA law and has represented injured workers across the United States. Contact us at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation.