FELA Negligence And Federal Railroad Safety Acts

FELA Negligence And Railroad Safety Acts

When Congress took action to protect railroad workers more than a century ago, it signaled the beginning of a new contract with American workers, one acknowledging a national interest in workplace safety.

The Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) empowered railroad workers to seek compensation when injured.

The Boiler Inspection Act of 1911 (later renamed the Locomotive Inspection Act), required that engines and trains be inspected for broken springs, dangerous ash pans and other safety issues.

The Safety Appliance Act required that railroads maintain safe and working components on rolling stock such as air brakes and that automatic couplers, handholds and ladders be safe for use.

Railroads are also bound by the federal requirements set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Courts have determined over the years that railroads owe employees a set of basic obligations:

  • To provide reasonably safe tools and equipment
  • To provide sufficient help to workers
  • To promulgate and enforce safety rules
  • Not to assign tasks beyond an employee's physical capacity
  • To warn employees of unsafe conditions
  • To protect employees from intentional torts committed by co-workers
  • To make the work site safe

These laws and decisions are the weapons that Bremseth Law Firm takes into trial every day against railroads that were negligent in maintaining a safe work environment.

Just Compensation For Accidents Resulting From Negligence

When a railroad flouts safety requirements, it is in breach of its lawful duty to protect workers who put their bodies on the line. The FELA and other railroad safety laws are comprehensive and impose strict liability upon the railroad. These rules do not apply only to workers on trains or in the train yard. They apply with equal force to workers who may be miles from the nearest tracks, but are still engaged in railroad work.

FELA Protection For Whistleblowers

Suppressing whistleblowers is punishable under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), which Congress amended to extend whistleblower protection to railroad employees.

The law exists to protect all railroad workers from harm and to compensate you if harm occurs. If you have been injured, call Bremseth Law Firm in Minnetonka, Minnesota, at 952-475-2800 and ask about the FELA and FRSA.