Contractors are a necessary evil on almost any railroad. From Sperry inspections to snow plowing, tree trimming to crew transport, they’re everywhere. But with so many people doing their jobs in close quarters, especially non-railroad savvy workers, the odds of an injury go up as the contractors move in.
That was the case one rainy afternoon when my client, a longtime deputy chief, was walking in the lobby of the corporate headquarters. The facility is known for its marble floors, which while ornate, also become dangerously slick when wet. The railroad has a contractor in charge of rolling out rubber mats near the entrances and in common areas during inclement weather so visitors to the headquarters can dry their feet, maintain traction and avoid dripping their umbrellas and raincoats all over the floor.
On this particular day, the contractor didn’t do its job. The chief lost his footing and fell hard on his back, leaving him with injuries he’ll feel for the rest of his life. A surveillance camera caught the whole incident on tape. (yes, tape, the case was several years ago)