Rail safety experts have said that fatigue is one of the biggest dangers to those who work in rail yards. However, it’s too often ignored because there are so many other more obvious risks.
Employers can take steps to minimize fatigue among their workforce. Let’s take a look at a few of those.
Limiting the amount of overtime
Rail yard workers often have the opportunity to work overtime. Certainly, the extra money can be a much-needed boost to paychecks. Railroads often need their employees to put in some overtime. However, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), even one 8-hour shift in addition to a regular 40-hour week can keep workers from getting the time off and opportunity to rest that they need.
Keeping schedules regular
Rail yard work isn’t an 8-to-5 jobs. Some employees need to work the overnight shift. Even working regular overnight shifts can throw off a person’s body clock, which can cause fatigue. However, moving between overnight shifts and daytime shifts even weekly can exacerbate that problem and make it difficult for workers to get the sleep they need in their off hours.
Making sure workers take regular breaks outside their work area
It’s crucial for railway workers to take their scheduled breaks and not waive their break times. They also shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a break if they feel fatigue setting in. It’s important for these workers to recognize the signs that they need to rest for a bit – both in themselves and their co-workers.
If you or a loved one who works in a rail yard has been injured – regardless of the cause – it’s important to know about the benefits available under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) that cover medical expenses and lost wages. If you’re having difficulty seeking those or receiving them, it can help to have legal guidance.