CSX workers fear lung disease from asbestos and silica exposure

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 18, 2006, 8:44am

Eight former employees of CSX Railroad allege the company breached its duty under the Federal Employer's Liability Act for not providing them a safe place to work.

They now suffer extreme fear of developing lung disease, according to a suit filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court Sept. 14.

William Krump, Glenn Williams, Richard Cocke, Vincente Leal, Melvin Denhart, Jesus Zavala, Pascual Santiago and Ronald Kidd claim that CSX knew, or should have known, that occupational exposure to silica and asbestos dust could result in asbestosis or pneumoconiosis.

"Plaintiffs have been informed by their physicians that as a result of their occupational exposure to harmful dusts, they are at a significantly increased risk of developing various medical ailments including, but not limited to infections of the lung, progressive lung disease, bronchogenic carcinomas, mesothelioma and gastro-intestinal carcinomas,' the complaint states.

"Plaintiffs suffer extreme fear, nervousness, mental anguish, and distress and a decreased ability to enjoy life," the complaint also states.

The plaintiffs claim during various times of their employment CSX used and purchased asbestos containing products in its locomotives, railcars, yards, shops and facilities.

They claim asbestos was present in various types of packing materials, gaskets, floor tile, ceiling paint, brake shoes, steam hoses, firebrick, and welding gloves.

The plaintiffs also claim sand, rock, granite and other silica-containing products were used by CSX for sandblasting, tack and yard ballast, leveling and fill materials and on locomotives to generate friction on the tracks.

They further claims that throughout their employment, CSX transported products that contained asbestos.

"Plaintiffs were unaware of the dangerous propensities of the harmful and/or hazardous dusts with which they were required to work with and around," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs claim CSX failed to furnish them with suitable tools and equipment including protective masks and inhalation devices, failed to warn them of the true nature of the dusts they were required to work with and around and failed to exercise reasonable care in publishing and enforcing a safety plan and method of handling and installing the harmful and hazardous dusts.

They also claim CSX failed to test products prior to requiring employees to work with them, failed to provide proper ventilation systems and failed to periodically test and examine them to see if they were subject to any ill effects due to exposure of the dusts.

Represented by Daniel Francis of St. Louis, the plaintiffs are each seeking damages in excess of $100,000.

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