Health Hazards of Working Around Diesel Engines

In 1890 the first patent for a diesel engine was issued. Over the next century, more and more industries incorporated this type of engine in equipment and vehicles. One of the main reasons for its popularity was that diesel engines were more energy efficient than engines that ran on gasoline.

Diesel fuel releases less CO2 carbon emissions than gasoline fuel. This is why it became so popular, especially in Europe where the majority of vehicles run on diesel fuel. However, what diesel does emit is Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), which has created a massive pollution problem in many European countries, causing serious health risks.

Diesel engines are used in the majority of vehicles used in the transportation industry, from locomotives to trucks. But multiple studies have concluded that prolonged exposure to the particles and fumes produced by diesel fuel has a hazardous impact on those who work around it.




And just like other types of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, workers who worked closely with and around diesel were the last to be told of the risks they were being exposed to day in and day out. One of these hazards was the link between lung cancer and diesel fumes.

According to studies conducted by the America Cancer Society, diesel fumes, such as soot, can change the DNA of a cell, leading to cancer. Other studies have found that workers who work around diesel fumes have a higher risk of developing cancer. Some of the professions cited in these studies include railroad workers, heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, and miners. Similar conclusions have been found by studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

If you are exposed to diesel fumes on a regular basis because of your job, there are some steps that may help minimize your risk. These include:

  • Stepping away from diesel engines whenever possible, such as during breaks and lunches.
  • Discuss with your employer about what can be done to create a safer work environment. Items such as masks and respirators should be supplied to workers. Steps should also be taken to improve ventilation in the work area.
  • Any worker who works around diesel engines should make sure their physician be aware of the work environment they are exposed to every day, as well as schedule regular examinations to check for any symptoms related to lung cancer or any other lung diseases. The sooner these conditions are diagnosed, the better the chances are of successful treatment.

Contact a Virginia FELA Injury Attorney

In many cases that involve the tragic illness or death of a railroad employee, the railroad may contact the victim’s family to try to offer a quick settlement. The amounts they offer are usually far below the actual amount the family would recover with the help of a FELA injury attorney. Victims and their families should never sign or agree to any settlement without first consulting with a Virginia FELA attorney.

At Shapiro & Appleton, we have extensive legal experience advocating for railroad workers and their families. If your loved one has been injured or killed in a railroad accident, call our firm today to find out how we can help your family get the legal and financial justice you deserve.

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