By John Cooper, Railroad Accident Attorney
One of the most extreme dangerous kinds of injuries that happen in railroad yards are ones where a railroad worker gets his leg or arm cut off as a result of getting squeezed between, under or around moving railroad equipment. Every locomotive and every railcar weigh hundreds of thousands of pounds. So in the railyard, or any time you are working on the railroad around moving freight or moving equipment, there is a real risk of serious injury to your limbs even to the point of amputation or death.
In my career as a FELA attorney, I have helped work on cases for numerous families who have had a loved one die or be very hurt by having their body squeezed between some fixed object and moving equipment. Many of these events occur in railyards where there is lots of moving equipment, and the work goes on day and night. One kind of case that I’ve seen is where there is something like a fence or other object in the railyard, perhaps owned by an industry or railroad customer that is on the edge of the yard. The railroad needs to make sure that there are not close clearances that mean that a person is going to get hit by the fence or another object as they’re going about their normal duties as a railroad worker in the yard such as a conductor hanging on moving equipment to put together trains or move railcars around the yard.
Another problem that arises in yards is when someone mistakenly is making a shoving movement or other kind of movement of locomotives while serving as a hostler which ends up hitting some other railroad worker who doesn’t realize that there is a conflict between the two movements. Such collisions are not supposed to occur but sadly they regularly happen because of human error, miscommunication, and poor handling by railroad supervisors. I have seen men killed when they are walking in the railyard , and somebody is moving freight around but doesn’t properly make sure that the other workers in the area are in the clear. There are various safety rules that are supposed to prevent this from happening but given the extreme danger of getting hit by a train in the yard it does happen despite best efforts. If you have been injured in a rail yard, call me for a free consultation at 866-455-6657.