As a Connecticut railroad employee, you might enjoy working outdoors. In fact, your love of nature, coupled with your love of trains may have been a significant factor toward your career choice. Perhaps you spend hours in a train yard or work on a maintenance crew that checks and repairs sections of track. Even if you carry out your primary duties inside a locomotive, you may have to navigate the outdoors on a regular basis during an average workday, as well.
Numerous outdoor hazards can place your health and safety at risk on the railroad. Your employer must provide proper training and equipment to help you and your co-workers lower that risk. It’s an obligation no employer should ever neglect. Sadly, some do, and the result is disastrous, especially when workers suffer injury or fatality because of it. Being aware of potential hazards improves safety and knowing where to seek support if you fall ill or suffer injury can help you achieve as full a recovery as possible.
Direct sunlight can cause serious damage
If you work outdoors for hours, you’ll be directly exposed to sunlight. While this may be part of what you like about your job — being outside, feeling the warm rays of the sun on your face and back, it can also place you at risk for skin damage and other health problems. Railroad workers who spend a lot of time outdoors should be aware of the signs of hyperthermia and know how to prevent it.
Plants and other hazards that you may encounter on the railroad
While your work may not directly take place in woodlands or areas heavily overgrown with plants, you may encounter certain plants, such as poison ivy or sumac, when working outdoors on the railroad. Railroad tracks often pass through locations that have weeds or brush growing on both sides. It’s always a good idea to be keenly aware of your surroundings if you are working in such areas.
Winter in Connecticut also poses outdoor health risks when you work on a railroad. From slippery ground conditions to freezing cold temperatures, high winds and heavy precipitation, avoiding frostbite, slips and falls and other dangers must always be a high priority. Regular assessment of workplace hazards allows employers and workers to identify potential problems and constantly work toward improving safety, especially when you work outdoors.
Danger lurks in shrubs and wooded areas
Lyme disease, Zika virus and other potentially fatal illnesses can be devastating to those who work outdoors. Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that can have debilitating symptoms, leaving you unable to return to your duties in the workplace. A mosquito bite can cause you to suffer from the Zika virus. These and other insect-causing illnesses do not always present immediately apparent symptoms, making correct diagnosis a challenge.
Support for injured railroad workers
If you do suffer an outdoor injury on the railroad, the Federal Employers Liability Act allows you to file a claim for benefits to help cover expenses related to your injury, and also to seek justice if employer negligence was a causal factor in the incident.