Railroad Workers and Their Associated Risks for Lung Cancer

Despite extensive research, many things remain unknown about diseases like cancer. Cancer is a devastating condition that takes many lives in this country. Learning that a loved one has developed cancer due to toxins to which they were exposed at work only adds to the burden. Railroad workers continue to be hyper exposed to environments that put them at increased risk of developing diseases such as bladder, kidney, pancreatic, and lung cancers. Read on for more information about the current risks railroad workers face for developing lung cancer, and their potential options.

Current Problem

Historically, railroads have required workers to submit to dangerous environments that have proven to be harmful to workers. The coal burned on railroads have exposed workers to carcinogens that we now know can cause lung cancer. Today, we know that diesel gas also emits toxins that lead to lung cancer. This is a big problem for those who work on railroads, as they are continuously working in toxic environments. Long periods of exposure can result in an increased risk of lung cancers, among others.

Who Is At Risk

We know that railroad workers are highly at risk of lung cancer because of these toxins. Specifically, the following workers on railroads have a higher chance of developing lung cancers:

  • Brakemen
  • Carriage maintenance crews
  • Conductors
  • Engineers
  • Firemen
  • Pipefitters
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Shopworkers
  • Trackmen
  • Yardmasters

Knowing that these particular occupations are at risk can help prevent these workers from getting lung cancer. It is important that these individuals take an extra level of precaution to make sure they are protected from breathing in toxins. It is also necessary to comprehend how exactly they are at risk of developing lung cancer.

How Are They At Risk

Railroad workers are exposed to various toxins released in the air. These toxins include carcinogens, asbestos, and hazardous dust. Carcinogens are any substances that can cause cancer. These substances are usually in the air on railroads. “The most prevalent of these substances is asbestos. Unfortunately, asbestos fibers tend to fray upon disturbance, and can lodge themselves into the lungs of any person unfortunate enough to breathe them in. This causes breathing difficulty and can also result in lung cancer,” says cancer injury lawyer Christopher Murphy of Doran & Murphy.

Other different hazardous materials on the railroad include granite dust, and crystalline silica. Individuals who work on railroads are also exposed to breathing in fumes such as cleaning products, lead paint, creosote, and weed killer products. Another major risk that railroad workers are susceptible to is smoking. Smoking can also cause lung cancer. Research suggests that railroad workers who smoke cigarettes and have been exposed to asbestos are over 30 times more likely to develop lung cancer.

With all of these potential risks, these diseases place emotional and financial hardships on families. It is important to evaluate the options associated with the outcome when an individual is diagnosed with lung cancer.

Options Available to Families

If someone you loved has been diagnosed with lung cancer and they have worked on a railroad, you have some l legal options. Typically, these kinds of claims would be considered workers’ compensation claims. However, railroad workers have an additional option available to them.

There are federal laws that have been put into place for railroad workers. According to the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), railroad workers are protected if they believe they were injured while working. Under FELA, if an employer is at the least partially responsible for any kind of injury of an employee, then the employee may sue for damages. This differs from the standard workers’ compensation claim. These claims are executed by the court only.

If you are considering this type of claim, you must make it no later than three years after the date of the injury. For instances such as cancer, the date of the injury is considered the day of the diagnosis. Another important fact is that studies have found that the amount of time a worker has worked on the railroad has little impact on the likelihood of them developing lung cancer.

If you are considering taking legal action for yourself or on behalf of a loved one, make sure you speak with a railroad injury attorney to determine your best course of action. It is always paramount to know your options to protect you and your family from damages that occurred while you were working.

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