For various reasons, railroad work ranks high on lists of most dangerous jobs in the nation. It’s no secret that traveling down railroad tracks at high speeds on a moving locomotive leaves room for any number of tragedies to occur at any time. However, even if you don’t work directly on a train (perhaps your railroad job is behind a desk), there may be danger lurking in your workplace of which you’re unaware.
Especially if your employer fails to inform you about potential workplace hazards or doesn’t provide proper training or equipment to help keep you safe, you may be at high risk for injury. Some injuries, in fact, occur over time. These often come about when your workplace duties include holding the same posture or performing the same task over and over again during your ordinary course of duty. This is known as repetitive strain injury and can be partially or fully debilitating.
Signs of RSI and where to turn for help
Perhaps your wrist or back has been bothering you, but you can’t put your finger on an underlying cause. It may be that you’ve suffered a repetitive strain injury at work. The following information explains more about such injuries and can help you determine how best to address your health needs at this time:
- A European physician first categorized RSIs in industrial workers in the 1700s.
- If your job includes manual labor, office work or use of modern technological devices, you are at risk for RSI.
- Your symptoms may appear in one part of your body, seemingly unrelated to the particular task causing your RSI. This is because repetitive motion in one part of your body can affect joints, ligaments or muscles in another body part.
- If you suffer pain or discomfort in a particular area of your body, it warrants further examination.
- Joint or muscle tenderness, stabbing or throbbing pains or loss of strength, mobility or sensation in a body part is often a sign of RSI.
Using vibrating equipment as a railroad repair worker, climbing up and down from a locomotive, or performing the same task over and over again over an extended period of time in a railroad office may cause RSI. Treatment varies and often includes hot or cold compresses, medication or surgery. Sadly, some RSIs prevent railroad workers from returning to their duties.
Support is available
If you believe you’re suffering an RSI, don’t hesitate to seek appropriate medical attention. As for any legal issues associated with your condition, FELA exists to protect your rights as an injured railroad worker.