A growing number of locomotive engineers have successfully pursued FELA claims against their employers based upon excessive vibrations found in locomotives. These claims are related to various long term maintenance issues (i.e. poorly maintained track, altered or poorly maintained locomotive seats, etc.). While transportation employees may be subject to locomotive cab vibration, they also face stress related claims involving worn out knees, ankles and shoulders. In many cases, these injuries are related to the continual operation of switches and derails that suffer from poor maintenance related to decreased maintenance of way forces, more walking related to visual inspections due to reduced crews and the use of road or mainline ballast in areas of high pedestrian traffic contrary to company rules. Maintenance of way employees are also suffering from arthritis in their legs and feet as well as carpal tunnel of the hands and wrist related to prolonged use of hand tools and prolonged walking on rough, uneven surfaces due to reduction in forces.
Each railroad worker can help himself and protect his co-workers by keeping personal records of poor working conditions they encounter during their shift. These records will allow you to prove at a later date the conditions which may lead to these types of “wear out” cases. Reports should also be made through union and company channels to create a “paper trail” which will show the company knew of a hazard and failed to correct it in order to protect its employees.