Railroad worker claims ear loss in FELA suit

Kelly Holleran Oct. 6, 2008, 10:30am

A former railroad worker has filed suit against Norfolk Southern Railway Company and two other corporations, claiming he suffered ear damage because the companies failed to provide adequate equipment.

Anthony Cavalier worked for Norfolk Southern Railway Company and Conrail for several years beginning in June 1969, according to the complaint filed Oct. 2 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Throughout the course of his employment, Cavalier suffered injuries to his ears, inner ears, nerve endings in the head, tympanic membrane, eardrums and the tissues of the inner ears, the suit states.

He claims he has lost some of his hearing and has tinnitus.

He also has suffered psychological and emotional harm and has paid for medical costs, according to the complaint.

As a result of his injuries, Cavalier has lost wages and fringe benefits, the suit states.

He claims the companies were negligent because they failed to provide their employees with a safe place to work, failed to provide safe equipment, failed to provide adequate hearing protection, failed to provide sound reduction in their engines and failed to warn their employees of the damage that could be done to their hearing.

The companies also failed to take steps to reduce the noise level, failed to follow OSHA and Federal Railroad Administration limitations on noise levels, exceeded the maximum noise levels allowed under OSHA and the Federal Railroad Administration, positioned the horn and whistle close to the crew who operated them and failed to modify the horn's or whistle's position, according to the complaint.

The companies were negligent by intimidating employees from using hearing protection or seeking medical determination of hearing levels, failed to take steps to reduce excessive noises, delayed following a consultant's regulations, failed to form a system hearing loss prevention program, failed to conduct decibel testing, failed to reduce noise levels and by requiring employees to work in G.E. engines that caused excessive noise, the suit states.

Cavalier claims the companies failed to provide training to its employees in hearing protection and the use of it, failed to provide results after they finally did institute a program, failed to tell OSHA, FRA and the employees of noise reading and only performed hearing tests to develop a defense to hearing loss lawsuits.

In the two-count suit, Cavalier is seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000, plus costs.

He has demanded a jury trial.

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