If you are a railroad employee, you are probably no stranger to bumpy rides. Over time, the normal jolts and shakes that come with working on trains may cause you to develop cumulative body vibration injuries. These potentially serious injuries may change your life forever.
Sometimes called whole-body vibration injuries or cumulative trauma injuries, cumulative body vibration injuries often develop over time. Essentially, after spending years working on the railroad, your body simply breaks down. Certain railroad-related jobs, such as bending or lifting, may also make you vulnerable to cumulative body vibration injuries.
Symptoms of cumulative body vibration injuries
Because they are categorical instead of specific, cumulative body vibration injuries may cause you to experience a wide range of symptoms. Nevertheless, if you have one or more of the following, you should seek medical treatment:
- Back, neck or joint pain
- Muscular weakness
- Diminished range of motion
It is important to note cumulative body vibration injuries may affect any part of your body. Still, many times symptoms develop first in the neck or back, as cumulative vibrations may cause spinal disks to bulge or rupture. The joints in your limbs may also be particularly vulnerable to damage, with injury symptoms worsening when you engage in physical activity.
Compensation for cumulative body vibrations
Because workers’ compensation benefits are not typically available for railroad employees, injured workers who develop cumulative body vibration injuries are often eligible for financial compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act. Receiving the compensation you deserve, though, may require filing a lawsuit against your employer.
You can probably expect your employer to resist compensating you for your cumulative body vibration injuries. Still, because railroads have both known about these injuries for years and taken few steps to protect workers, asserting your legal rights may be the right approach.