As a railroad worker injury lawyer, I’ve helped engineers, conductors and other crew members who suffered very serious injuries. We read a lot about derailments, explosions or chemical spills. However, poor seating causes many injuries on the railroad.
The problem is not new. Back in 1998, a Federal Railroad Administration study made a clear link between poor seating and injuries. The investigators noted the issue is well documented.
The study stated:
“Engineers complain of lower back, neck and shoulder pains related to sitting posture.”
A disconnect between the seating and the requirements of engineers to operate equipment exacerbates the problem.
Poor seating may not sound as serious as derailments, moving parts or other hazards that can cause very serious injuries and deaths on the railroad.
But workers are constantly on their seats. The vibrations can impact their backs and cause very serious injuries over a period of time.
Poor Seating Issues on Trains Go Back Decades
We should not be surprised about why seating is so bad on trains. In 2003, a report by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers said executives focused on the “bottom line” make decisions on the railroads. Crews have little say.
There appeared to be little incentive for the railroads to tackle the level of vibration workers face on poor seating.
Studies have repeatedly pointed to the pain suffered by railroad employees who are forced to sit on these inadequate seats.
The Association of American Railroads’, Locomotive Cab Seat Evaluation in 1980 looked at the seating on trains on every major railroad in the country.
It found 40 percent of employees reported back pain from riding on the trains and almost 25 percent reported neck pain.
Ongoing pain is a warning of future injury. The unwillingness of the railroads to address such a fundamental problem over a span of at least four decades is alarming.
When poor seating leads to back injuries, workers may lose their jobs on the railroads. They may also have ground to sue their employers under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). If you were injured on the railroads, please call us at (866) 455-6657.