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Railroads' Duties under FELA
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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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