Railroad Workers

Railroad Workers and Asbestos Exposure

Compassionate Attorneys Fighting for Railroad Workers Exposed to Asbestos

Railroad workers are particularly prone to developing mesothelioma due to their prolonged exposure to asbestos-containing products. Asbestos was used throughout locomotives in insulation, brakes, cement, and gaskets. The fibers present in these elements were inhaled by railroad workers, leading to the development of this deadly illness. The long latency period between initial exposure and onset of the disease means that many railroad workers may not realize they have been affected until decades after the initial exposure.

If you are a railroad worker who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after asbestos exposure, do not wait to reach out to an experienced lawyer. Contact us online or call (855) 744-1922 today.

How Are Railroad Workers Exposed to Asbestos?

Asbestos was widely used in railroad infrastructure during the 1930s through 1970s, and any workers present in or around roadhouses, railroad shops, or repair shops were likely to encounter it. This exposure may have occurred through cutting, sanding, or smoothing asbestos-containing materials, which would release toxic airborne fibers into the air that could be inhaled. Additionally, many public cabins and carriages also contained asbestos-based products such as wallboards and floor tiles. This would create a threat of inhalation for conductors and yardmasters since these components were often worn down from continued daily use. 

Railroad workers faced an especially high risk of asbestos exposure due to the use of sealing cement and gaskets, which were applied to secure pipe joints and valves. Maintenance staff in particular were at risk when repairing and maintaining the tracks and locomotives, as they often encountered asbestos-laden components such as plumbing fixtures, electrical wiring, and air conditioning or heating systems. The heat-resistant properties of asbestos made it a popular choice for these materials. Unfortunately, replacing these parts also released considerable amounts of hazardous dust into the air that could be inhaled by those nearby. Brake pads and linings were also notorious for containing asbestos fibers: Given their regular maintenance and replacement schedule, this created a particularly dangerous environment for workers who had to manipulate them.

Although it is impossible to measure the exact amount of risk posed by exposure to asbestos on trains and locomotives, it is known that those who worked with train components containing asbestos are at greater risk of developing fatal illnesses like mesothelioma due to their prolonged contact with the hazardous material. All railroad workers should take note of their heightened risk level and consider getting tested for any signs of disease brought about by asbestos poisoning.

Asbestos Products Associated with Railroads

Despite the known risks of asbestos, the use of this hazardous substance was widespread in the railroad industry. Asbestos was present in locomotive insulation, brake linings, roof shingles, and other parts of freight cars and wagons. These products were integral to railway safety and ensured proper engine insulation, brake efficiency, and fire protection. Unfortunately, workers who serviced or built these items may have been exposed to asbestos fibers without proper protective gear or training, which can pose a risk of developing mesothelioma.

Some of the asbestos-containing products a railroad worker may have been exposed to include:

  • Boilers
  • Brakes
  • Ceilings
  • Cement Ties
  • Clutches
  • Disposable Ash Trays and Coasters
  • Fireboxes
  • Floor Tiles
  • Gaskets
  • Insulation
  • Plaster
  • Paint
  • Rope
  • Sealing Cement
  • Wallboards
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Who Is Liable for Railroad Asbestos Exposure?

Railroad workers who were exposed to asbestos on the job may be able to seek compensation from several different parties. Employers and manufacturers of asbestos-containing materials like gaskets, insulation, and brakes are generally considered liable parties in cases involving railroad worker asbestos exposure. In some cases, the railroad itself may bear responsibility for the worker's medical costs and other damages resulting from their illness. Additionally, any contractors or subcontractors that supplied asbestos-containing materials to the railroad could also be held liable in certain situations. Furthermore, if prior employers contributed to an individual's cumulative asbestos exposure, they too can be held accountable depending on the circumstances. The degree of liability will depend on a variety of factors, including when and where the exposure occurred, which party was responsible for providing safety equipment and training, and whether or not warnings were provided about the dangers of working with asbestos-laden materials.

Some of the most prominent manufacturers of asbestos-containing products that have been sued for exposure-related diseases developing in railroad workers include:

  • Abex Corporation
  • Johns Manville
  • Keasbey & Mattison
  • General Motors
  • Griscom-Russell Company
  • H.K. Porter
  • Railroad Friction Products Corp.
  • Raybestos-Manhattan

Some examples of railroad companies that have been held accountable through asbestos litigation include:

  • Amtrak
  • Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
  • Birmingham Southern Railroad Company
  • BNSF Railway Co.
  • Carolina & Western Railway Co. Inc.
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company
  • Conrail
  • CSX Transportation
  • Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad Co.
  • Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd.
  • Kansas City Southern Railway Company
  • Metro-North Commuter Railroad Co.
  • Seminole Gulf Railway
  • Transtar Inc.
  • American Association for Justice
  • MATA
  • The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis

How Asbestos Exposure Can Cause Mesothelioma and Other Diseases in Railroad Workers

Mesothelioma is an aggressive, rare form of cancer that is primarily caused by asbestos exposure. Inhaled asbestos fibers, which can occur in many railroad settings, can remain lodged in the body's organ tissues for a lifetime, leading to inflammation and scarring that can result in mesothelioma cancer. There is currently no cure for mesothelioma, though medical professionals are actively researching new treatments through clinical trials. It is essential for those who have been diagnosed with the condition to seek out a specialist in order to receive the most informed care.

Asbestos exposure also has links to other illnesses including lung cancer, ovarian cancer, laryngeal cancer, and asbestos, which is a long-term respiratory disorder resulting from accumulation of scar tissue in the lungs. Those suffering from asbestos may experience difficulty breathing and impaired lung function over time. As such it is imperative to take precautions if you previously worked in a railroad setting where exposure likely occurred and seek immediate medical help should any symptoms arise.

Getting Compensation for Railroad Workers and Their Families

Railroad employees who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, may be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim or seek compensation from an asbestos bankruptcy trust fund. In cases where a loved one has passed away due to mesothelioma, you may qualify for a wrongful death claim. Claims can potentially be pursued against both railroad companies and manufacturers of asbestos products in order to obtain justice for those who were harmed by exposure to this hazardous material. 

Injured railroad workers are protected under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), which allows them to file a civil action lawsuit against their employer if it can be proven that negligence contributed to their injuries. This includes any occupational diseases that developed due to exposure to asbestos. The lawsuit may be filed in either federal or state court, provided that the railroad company operates in multiple states. If not, plaintiffs may only pursue claims against individual manufacturers of asbestos-containing products and not the employer itself.

Our attorneys at SWMW Law are committed to fighting for railroad workers who developed any disease as a result of asbestos exposure. We have obtained over $750 million for our clients to date and have the unique set of skills and experience required to successfully advocate for victims and their families in courts across the United States. Our lawyers take these matters personally, as it is personal to us. Your story matters, and we are prepared to offer the attentive, capable representation you deserve.

If you are a current or former railroad worker who developed mesothelioma, do not wait to get in touch with us. Call (855) 744-1922 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation today.

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