Do you know that .2 horsepower per ton is all it takes to move a railcar? If you calculate that the average weight of an empty railcar is approximately 30 tons, you can figure that a mere six horsepower is all you need to move it. If you have been in the railroad business a long time, you may already be aware that many railroad accidents occur because of unsecured rolling stock.
Properly securing stock cars should be of highest priority to all rail facility managers. Whether you work on a freight or passenger train, if you’re traveling on a line adjacent to unsecured rolling stock cars, you are at great risk for injury. It doesn’t take much to cause an unsecured car to roll; in fact, a strong gust of wind can often do the trick. There is no guarantee that your train would be able to stop in time to avoid a potentially fatal collision.
Why airbrakes aren’t enough
If you are familiar with the terms “blowout” or “roll-out,” you may know that such incidents are often catastrophic. If railway officials fulfill all their obligations to adhere to recommended safety regulations, including keeping rolling stock cars properly secured, chances of disaster greatly decrease. The following facts show why using only airbrakes is not enough to keep stock cars secure:
- As stated earlier, it doesn’t take much to cause a stock car to roll, even on the slightest grade of incline.
- The air in airbrakes can gradually leak out. Once it’s all gone, there is nothing to hold railcars in place, unless officials have taken additional safety measures.
- Even a single empty car can cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of track and line damage, not to mention serious worker injuries, if a roll-out occurs and it collides with a moving train.
Suppose you suffer injury in a railroad accident involving a rolled-out stock car. Perhaps you later learn that a causal factor in the incident was that all the air in the airbrakes holding the car in place had leaked out. Such circumstances would definitely warrant an inquiry as to why no additional safety was employed to properly secure the railcar.
Recovering from your injuries
Surviving a railroad collision often leads to a long, arduous recovery. Your injuries hopefully will not prevent you from returning to the workplace at some point; however, it is often the case that such incidents result in partial or full permanent disabilities for injured workers. The more you know about the Federal Employers Liability Act, the less stressful it might be to navigate the benefit claims process.