Railroad workers in safety-critical positions are more likely to (1) get fatigued and (2) average less sleep during the workweek, compared with other U.S. working adults, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”). The Federal Railroad Administration’s recent report, called “Fatigue Status of the Railroad Industry,” strongly suggests that the railroad industry should revise its hours-of-service, fatigue-related policies and regulations with regards to railroad workers.
Notwithstanding the conventional wisdom that most railroad jobs tend to pose relatively high risks of on-the-job and job-related injuries, which is primarily due to the industry’s relatively dangerous working conditions, railroad workers that work while they are fatigued are likely exposed to an even higher risk of injury. And what about the severity of such injuries? If a railroad worker is fatigued, are they exposed to a higher risk for severe or catastrophic injuries, also?
These findings are alarming, especially because it is the railroad workers in “safety-critical” positions that get less sleep and are more fatigued than other U.S. working adults during the workweek. Workers in these positions are not only responsible for their individual safety but are oftentimes responsible for ensuring the safety of others. Protecting other railroad workers and the communities that the railroad affects, may fit within the job description of these “safety-critical” positions.
That being said, are these problems preventable? More specifically, if you are a fatigued railroad worker who is injured on the job, could a company policy or industry regulation have helped to protect you? If you are injured on-the-job, what are your rights?