Top Ten Maintenance of Way Injuries for 2008

            Our law firm, which focuses its practice exclusively on helping injured people, handles lots of F.E.L.A. cases for Maintenance of Way Engineering Department workers on CSX and Norfolk Southern (NS) throughout the eastern United States.  The following are ten different types of traumatic injuries that can cause a worker in the Maintenance of Way Department of a railroad to lose time from work or even end up being medically disqualified from returning to his railroad career:


1.      Dangers on Maintenance of Way gang work trucks, like a rack for tools which is unsafely mounted in a way that will likely cause back injury, rather than mounted in a way to make the tools and ergonomically accessible;


2.      Coworker during a joint lift of a heavy object, like a cooler, cross tie, or rail section, dropping it and harming the other laborer’s back;


3.      Leaking equipment, spilling oil or hydraulic fluid on stepping surfaces making them slippery and making machine operators more likely to have a fall;


4.      Understaffing where the crew sizes are so small that today’s trackman/laborer has to do what was the work of two or more maintenance of way gang members in the past;


5.      Getting struck from behind in a high-rail vehicle by another high-rail truck whose driver was not being careful enough;


6.      Being forced to use defective, out-moded, or unsafe equipment like a broken seat on a Maintenance of Way machine the worker rides such as a spiker or tamper even after complaints and requests to replace or improve the equipment;


7.      Getting hurt mounting or dismounting various maintenance of way machines because the step down from the bottom step or ladder to the ground is too far especially in places where the track ballast profile is not properly maintained;


8.      Having the foreman or supervisor of the Maintenance of Way crew rush the job because of unreasonable scheduling demands and lack of track time to do repairs;


9.      Getting struck by debris being taken off of a bridge under repair because improper methods are used to remove the material; and


10.  Being required to work in unsafe conditions like improper lighting because the railroad is pushing too hard for production at the expense of safety.


The list above were just some of the risks which injured our clients in the recent past whether they were working in South Carolina (SC) for CSX or in Virginia (VA) for Norfolk Southern.  In the railroad work environment there are lots of different ways to get hurt.  Because of the heavy physical demands on railroaders, especially on the Maintenance of Way Department, even when there is not a specific traumatic event causing a musculoskeletal injury, like a herniated disc in a person’s back, neck or spine, there is the everyday grinding of these workers’ bodies resulting in occupation injury claims.  Wear-out or cumulative trauma cases for the repetitive stresses on the body from laying down and fixing track often result in a shoulder, hip, or knee surgery disqualifying the worker from being able to continue in this heavy duty railroad occupation.


            Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury law firm is based in Virginia practicing primarily in the southeastern U.S. and handles only injury law, including car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.  The firm's website is:, the firm edits two injury law blogs:  Virginia Beach Injuryboard & Norfolk Injuryboard, and also hosts a video library covering many FAQ’s on personal injury subjects.