Any worker employed by the railroad finds themselves faced with a lot of dangerous situations, from loading the trains to working on the tracks to being the engineer of a train. However, there is one risk that railroad workers face that has been growing in ever-greater numbers in recent years: the risk of cancer.
Just as dangerous, if not more so, than other more common types of railroad injuries, cancer has been reported in ever-greater numbers among railroad workers in recent decades and poses one of the greatest health risks to railroad employees to ever seen.
Railroad workers have always faced a number of health risks, including cancer; a study done by the National Institutes of Health tracks the number of lung cancer diagnoses in railroad workers between 1959 and 1996, as well as the connected mortality rate, and the findings are as stunning as you may imagine.
But thanks to developments in railroad technology and the sort of environments railroad workers are exposed to, the risk goes far beyond diesel exhaust. Some of the more common causes of
Lung cancer: A sadly common form of cancer in the United States today, railroad workers constitute a large percentage of lung cancer diagnoses primarily due to the diesel fumes that come from modern train engines. As many of these trains run nearly 24 hours a day, exposure risk is high despite the safety precautions issued to many workers. A surprising but still sadly common contributor to this is the benzene contained in many degreasing agents used by railroads to clean machinery.
Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma in railroad workers is most frequently linked to the presence of asbestos in railroad equipment. While asbestos is less-commonly used in most industrial settings than it was back in our grandfathers’ days, the fact of the matter is that asbestos is still used in many components and supplies related to railroad work such as brake pads and insulating material in older diesel engines. Long-term exposure to asbestos can result in many serious illnesses such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Blood cancer/Hodgkin’s lymphoma: Certain types of modern trains operate using specialized magnets, such as certain kinds of commuter trains. Studies done by several health organizations have indicated that exposure to the magnetic fields generated by many of these magnets such as the kind used on commuter trains may have an elevated risk of certain blood cancers such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloid leukemia, both tragic diseases that can be linked to magnetic exposure.
If you’re a railroad worker and you have been diagnosed with these or similar diseases, you may be able to seek compensation. The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) provides special protections for railroad workers who are injured or fall ill during the course of their employment. Contact O’Bryan Law today to see what we can do about fighting for your rights under this law, and get you the compensation you deserve.