Five long-time employees of BNSF Railway have sued their former employer, accusing the company of failing to warn its workers of the potential harm of prolonged asbestos exposure, despite their awareness of its many dangers.
This is just the latest in a long line of asbestos lawsuits filed against railroad companies, which continued to expose their workers to deadly asbestos fibers for decades after learning of the many dangers that could result from exposure to asbestos fibers. As such, this will certainly not be the last lawsuit of its kind.
According to the suit, the plaintiffs worked for several years in and around engines, boilers and other areas where asbestos fibers were present and airborne. As a result of their asbestos exposure, all five have contracted lung diseases that have significantly diminished their quality of life and greatly reduced their life expectancy. Specifically, the plaintiffs have been diagnosed with silicosis and asbestosis.
BNSF continued to use and expose its workers to asbestos despite its knowledge of the risks, according to the lawsuit, and company officials offered its employees no protection against the deadly asbestos fibers.
For many decades, asbestos was heavily used in the railroad industry, primarily to insulate steam and diesel locomotives, boxcars, cabooses, boilers and pipes, as well as in brakes and the floor tiles of passenger train cars. When railroad employees worked with any of those parts, asbestos flew through the air and landed on their clothing. As such, it is possible that rail workers' family members may also have been exposed to the deadly asbestos fibers.
Source: Star-Telegram, "Former BNSF employees sue railroad over asbestos exposure," Elizabeth Campbell, June 16, 2012