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Railroad workers at higher risk of fatigue, injuries

One of the most undervalued things in Minnesota residents' lives may be a good night's sleep. In today's hectic world, it is easy to get wrapped up with other tasks, or to lose sleep in order to put in extra time at school or work.

This is particularly true in the case of fatigued railroad workers, who have a different sleep pattern than many other working adults. With different work schedules, railroad workers are more likely to get less sleep than others, which often leaves them fatigued and suffering from sleep disorders.

Some workers may experience more problems than others. For instance, train and engine workers have a significant fatigue exposure as a group, but passenger train and engine workers have less fatigue exposure because of their more predictable work schedules.

While a lack of sleep by itself is troubling, the risk of railroad injuries can dramatically increase for fatigued workers. According to a report by the Federal Railroad Administration, the risk of an accident caused by human factors is elevated 11 to 65 percent by exposure to fatigue. While this can cause significant financial costs, it can also leave the railroad worker with serious injuries.

When workers suffer injuries on the job, they may have a valid claim they can assert to obtain compensation for their injuries. Under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, workers injured in the course and scope of work may be able to hold the railroad liable if the railroad caused or contributed to the injuries suffered by the employee. By holding the railroad responsible, individuals can get accountability and the financial help that they need to deal with the life-altering injuries.

Source: United States Department of Transportation, "Fatigue status of the U.S. railroad industry," accessed on July 9, 2016

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