Many of our readers likely remember the tragic incident in April near Chester, Pennsylvania, where two Amtrak employees who were doing maintenance on a railroad track were struck and killed by one of the company's trains. Now the family of one of the men killed, a longtime employee of Amtrak, has filed a lawsuit against the railroad for negligence.
The man's daughter is accusing the company of not providing a safe workplace, failing to use systems that would have slowed or stopped the train (which was traveling at over 100 miles per hour) and not adequately protecting its employees.
An attorney for the family said that their investigation has uncovered what "appear to have been multiple failures." These include "miscommunication between the tower and those responsible for ensuring the track was kept out of operation and protected." The deaths, the family and their attorneys argue, were preventable in a number of ways.
This accident came less than a year after another Amtrak train derailed near Philadelphia. The family's attorney notes that these two accidents, relatively close together in time and location, show "significant gaps in safety practices and procedures" that are endangering the safety of passengers and employees.
Besides seeking justice for their loved one, the family wants to call attention to the lack of safety measures in place and call for "prompt corrective measures" that are available via modern railroad technology. He says, "There needs to be a redundancy to ensure that workers and passengers at all times are protected."
While railroad work, like many types of employment, can present inherent dangers, companies are still required to take whatever measures are within their power to protect their employees. When they don't, they can and should be held legally accountable.
Source: PennRecord, "Attorney: 'Significant Gaps' in Safety Procedures Led to Fatal Amtrak Crash," Jamie Kelly, June 15, 2016