Studies indicate a connection between occupational exposure to diesel exhaust fumes and lung cancer. In light of this evidence, it's incumbent upon major railroad companies, such as Virginia-based Norfolk Southern, to implement a strategy to reduce employee exposure to such volatile fumes.
Our law firm has written about the cancer connection and occupational exposure of diesel exhaust fumesrepresenting employees seriously injured in FELA cases.
Railroad companies must realize their employees are the foundation of their success and reducing a potential health hazard in the work environment is important. Companies need to examine alternative fuel sources or technology which could reduce the amount of diesel exhaust fume exposure in a train crew work area. The long-term health of the company's employees is worth the time and investment.
Here's a video discussing litigation already being brought against railroad companies in connection to diesel exhaust fumes...
My colleague, Rick Shapiro, wrote about four different methods to reduce occupational exposure to diesel exhaust fumes:
1.) Engineer controls should be implemented such as isolation areas, appropriate shelters for employees, or actual engineering changes to equipment which subject workers to diesel exhaust fumes. This could include changing diesel exhaust stacks on engines to assure fumes do not trail into locomotive engine cabs, providing air conditioning and/or pressurize and seal engine cabs so fumes will not enter the cabs through openings.
2.) Implement administrative controls and rotate a railroad worker in-and-out of a particular job so exposure to the worker to excessive diesel exhaust.
3.) Change work practice controls, which means choosing the manner of doing a particular job so as to minimize exposure to diesel exhaust hazards.
4.) Mandate personal protective equipment such as masks or respirators or other similar protective equipment. All of these principles are typical industrial health and safety controls, not only in the railroad industry, but for general industry.
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