Asbestos and Railroad Workers

Railroad workers are the backbone of America’s current economy. Since the late 1800s, railroad workers have shipped food, gas, construction materials, and other products to blooming towns and cities across the nation. Yet, despite their hard work, railroad workers are among one of the highest groups of workers at risk of developing an asbestos-related illnesses.

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos-related lung cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. 

Railroad Workers: History With Asbestos

Railroad workers have always played a large role in the United States, and with railroads spanning across most of the nation, there were once vast amounts of job functions for railroad workers. While some railroad workers were responsible for inspecting rails and railroad ties, other workers laid rail-tracks, whereas other inspected the plumbing, heating, and electricity aboard locomotives. Other responsibilities include train engineering, conductors, yardmasters, and more.

Railroad workers were largely responsible for bringing this change. Their jobs included operating, building, inspecting, maintaining and repairing more than 300,000 miles of track that spanned the country. Working in crews, they inspect rails, railroad ties and roadbeds for signs of wear.

As the 20th Century moved on, cars became the most popular mode of transportation in the United States, but railroads and trains are used for exports and still employ millions of people in the nation.

Even though asbestos is no longer as big of a risk at it once was for railroad workers, it was once found in an abundance of products, machinery, and more, placing a myriad of workers at risk of developing toxic illnesses such as asbestos-related lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma. From the 1930 until the late 1970s, numerous railroad workers faced asbestos exposure each day they worked.

Asbestos Products and Exposure for Railroad Workers

The most common products and areas that contained asbestos in the railroad industry include:

  • Insulation
  • Cement
  • Tile
  • Plaster
  • Gaskets
  • Locomotive brake pads, clutches, and brake linings
  • Caboose ceilings
  • Driving cabins
  • Carriages
  • Wallboards

It was a standard practice to sand out and cut materials for railroad workers. Asbestos fibers would then permeate throughout the air and affect any railroad worker in the vicinity, even those who weren’t responsible for maintenance and repair work.

Asbestos Studies on Railroad Workers

The Department of Medicine of Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted a study during the 1950s, involving railroad workers and their exposure to asbestos. According to the study, published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH),

“Before the transition from steam- to diesel-powered locomotives during the 1950s certain railroad workers had the opportunity for significant occupational exposure to asbestos. Past studies have demonstrated that older workers with jobs associated with the repair of steam locomotives had the most exposure.”

Railroad Asbestos Lawsuits

Since railroad workers do not always qualify for U.S. workers’ compensation, many workers who were injured by asbestos filed an asbestos lawsuit against their employers, allowed under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Under FELA, railroad workers were allowed to sue employers by proving that negligence contributed to their asbestos-related injuries and illnesses.

However, FELA only applies to employers that have operations in numerous states. For one-state only railroad companies, employees can only file a lawsuit against the manufacturers who supplied asbestos-containing products to employers.

Additional Help for Railroad Workers

Remember, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos-related cancer, you may qualify for significant compensation. Remember to fill out our from to get your free Financial Compensation Packet, with information on asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers in your area.

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