Hearing loss claimed in suit against Alton and Southern

Ann Knef Nov. 6, 2007, 1:59am

A St. Louis law firm has filed a Federal Employers' Liability Act suit in St. Clair County against Alton and Southern Railway on behalf of six workers who claim ear injuries due to excessive horn and whistle noises.

Attorney James E. Hopkins, Jr. of Bauer & Baebler filed on behalf of James Fitzgerald, James Godfrey, Gary Maxwell, Timothy Porter, Adam Beaston and Jeff Pratt, Sr. The complaint does not indicate where the plaintiffs reside.

They claim they suffered injuries to their inner ears, nerve endings in the head, tympanic membranes, eardrums and the tissues of the inner ears. They also claim tinnitus and psychological and emotional harm.

Among other things, the plaintiffs claim the defendant failed to:

  • Provide adequate hearing protection;

  • Provide sound reduction in engines;

  • Follow OSHA and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) limitations on noise levels in the work place;

  • Modify the position of the horn and whistle on engines;

  • Take steps to engineer out excessive noises;

  • Form a system hearing loss prevention program;

  • Conduct decibel testing or audiometric testing programs; and

  • Tell OSHA, FRA and employees of noise level readings that were damaging to the employees' hearing.

    The plaintiffs are also seeking damages under the Locomotive Boiler Inspection Act.

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