CSX worker files FELA complaint in Madison County

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 4, 2007, 12:20am

A train conductor with CSX Transportation filed a Federal Employers' Liability Act complaint against his employer seeking compensatory damages for cumulative musculoskeletal injuries he sustained since his employment began in 1962.

James Arnett filed suit in U.S. District Court Sept. 26, alleging CSX failed to provide him with a safe place to work by failing to provide safe tools and equipment.

According to Arnett, CSX has known for years that the working conditions he has been subjected to presented risk factors for the development of cumulative or musculoskeletal disorders involving the spine, hips, knees and legs that are painful and disabling.

Arnett claims CSX should have known the tools they furnished employees were not ergonomically designed to reduce or eliminate the risk factors for the development of cumulative injuries.

According to Arnett, CSX provided locomotives and cabooses with inadequate seating and excessive lateral and vertical motion which subjected him to "unsafe levels of whole-body vibration, jarring and bouncing while seated."

He also claims that he was required to throw many different types of switches that had not been properly maintained and were unsafe from an ergonomic standpoint placing great stress on his spine, hips, knees, legs and musculoskeletal system.

Arnett also claims he was required to get on and off moving equipment, walk considerable distances, mount and dismount equipment on a sloped, unstable ballast and had to ride on the side of rail cars for considerable distances all of which placed stress on various parts of the body.

He further alleges CSX's railroad crew sizes were cut over time without a commensurate reduction in the quantity of work which led to increased pressure from railroad management to complete necessary tasks in a timely manner which added additional physical and emotional stress from working conditions.

According to Arnett, his musculoskeletal injuries cause pain and suffering, medical expenses, psychological and emotional injury, mental anguish and lost wages.

Represented by Richard Zalasky of St. Louis, Arnett is seeking damages in excess of $75,000, plus costs of the suit.

The case has been assigned to District Judge J. Phil Gilbert in Benton.

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