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Fela Information Center

Experienced, statewide representation for families and individuals with FELA claims - contact the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, law offices of Derzon & Menard today. Free consultations are available. You pay no legal fees unless we win.

Railroads' Duties under FELA

We work for the railroad worker. We work to give you a voice and demand results. If you've been injured in connection with the work you do in the railroad industry - call Derzon & Menard at 414-326-4643 for a free consultation.

When Congress enacted the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) for the protection of railroad workers nationwide, it not only created a system in which injured workers could recover compensation for their injuries, it also established a duty for railroads to provide employees with a reasonably safe workplace. This duty is non-delegable. If you are a railroad worker who was injured on the job, or if a family member who worked for a railroad died in an accident at work, it is important to speak to an attorney at Derzon & Menard, S.C in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Duty to Provide a Reasonably Safe Place to Work

The fundamental duty of a common carrier by railroad under FELA is to provide employees a reasonably safe work environment. A railroad must act with reasonable care, which is determined by considering whether a particular hazard was foreseeable. Generally, a railroad has a duty to:

  • Make sure that the workplace is reasonably free of unsafe conditions
  • Provide safe equipment and tools
  • Warn employees of any unsafe conditions and hazards

Duty to Provide Training and Supervision

As part of their duty to provide a safe work environment under FELA, railroad companies must make sure that their employees are reasonably equipped and able to perform their assigned tasks. This duty includes ensuring that:

  • Every worker is provided with all necessary training so that the employee can perform his or her respective job responsibilities safely
  • All job activities and work conditions are adequately supervised, so that any injuries to subordinate employees are avoided
  • Company rules regarding job safety are followed

Commonly Litigated Duties

FELA was enacted in 1908, and since that time, the following specific duties owed by railroads have been commonly litigated:

  • Duty to know the nature of workplace conditions
  • Duty to warn of unsafe working conditions
  • Duty to fix unsafe work conditions if the railroad knew or should have known that its conduct was not sufficient to protect employees
  • Duty to provide employees adequate help to accomplish their assigned jobs
  • Duty to provide safe tools and equipment
  • Duty to warn of dangerous tools and equipment
  • Duty to draft and enforce company safety regulations
  • Duty to assign workers to tasks that are within their physical capabilities
  • Duty to educate and instruct employees about safe work practices


Railroads must provide their employees with a reasonably safe work environment under FELA. If your employer has breached this duty and you were injured as a result, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. An attorney who has experience handling FELA cases at Derzon & Menard, S.C in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, can guide you through the process of filing a claim.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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