Railyard Injuries

Reports by the FRA show that almost half of all railroad accidents and over one-third of the all railroad worker injuries occur in railyards. Studies have compared railroad worker fatalities to other industries and the injury and fatality for railyard workers is more than double the national average.

While these statistics might seem surprising at first, they shouldn’t be. Vast amounts of the country’s freight moves by rail, all of which must move through multiple railyards. The constantly moving freight combines with massive forces, hazardous walking and lighting conditions, aging equipment, and railroad management that is often looking to cut corners, to create inherently dangerous conditions in railyards. Factoring in that many new hires must start out working in railyards and the factors only increase, as FRA statistics show that railyard workers under 35 suffer a higher percentage of injury.

Studies by the FRA also show the following:

  • The greatest number of injuries occurred during nighttime hours and later in injured railroad workers’ shifts
  • May, July and August were associated with the highest injury rates in warmer areas and winter months in colder areas.
  • The most affected body parts were the arms, hands, knees, backs, and shoulders
  • The physical acts of walking, running, or stepping over were associated with the most number of injuries, likely due to poor railyard walkways and lighting
  • Being struck by or against an object was the most common triggering event.

Factors such as moving equipment, poorly maintained switches, heavy machinery, exposure to toxic cargo, and many others are all hazards railroad yard workers face every day.

Railroad brakemen, signalmen, and switch operators perform the bulk of trainside and yard work, operating track switches to route cars to different areas of the yard, setting warning signals, signaling locomotive operators, helping couple and uncouple cars to make up or break up trains, and inspecting couplings, airhoses, and handbrakes. Because these tasks require being on the ground or on equipment, they often put railroad workers in harm’s way: between cars and out of locomotive operators’ sight, relying on hand signals and radio communication with the locomotive operator who could be a quarter mile away. Nearly half of railroad brake, signal, and switch operator fatalities resulted from being struck by a railway vehicle. Navigating the complex movements, regulations, and rules that govern these operations requires a seasoned, experienced FELA injury attorney.

Although trainside work is not the principal function of conductors and yardmasters, their fatal injury experience was between that of locomotive operators and railroad brake, signal, and switch operators. Onboard accidents accounted for more than half of conductor and yardmaster fatalities, and a third of conductors’ fatal accidents involved being struck by a railway vehicle.

FELA is an injured railroad worker’s only means of compensation. Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm has experienced attorneys with the skills and drive necessary to fight against railroads and prove that your railyard injury was caused by a negligent railroad carrier. Because no two cases are alike, we specifically tailor our legal representation to give each and every client specialized legal to the specific facts of their claim and will not stop until justice is achieved.

For all of our clients, our firm works on a contingency fee basis. Simply, if we don’t win your case, you won’t pay us anything. We operate this way for solely for the benefit of our clients, as this allows them to feed their families and concentrate on healing. We want to see you obtain a successful recovery so that you can continue to carry on with your life.