Fold-Away Fall Protection System Provides Safer Railcar Maintenance Bays

Overview

A national rail passenger service provider in America recently approved a grant for a safety system for their railcar maintenance bays. When employees access the top of railcars for maintenance tasks, they are being exposed to a serious fall hazard that could be anywhere between 14 to 16 feet in the air. As a result, this passenger transportation provider decided to explore options for creating a safer work environment for employees working in the maintenance bays. Due to the various overhead obstructions and cranes that are used in the maintenance bays, a ceiling or floor mounted fall protection system was not going to be an ideal solution. Knowing that a more customized fall protection system would be needed, Tom Smith, a project engineer from Bay Industrial Group, contacted Rigid Lifelines for this unique opportunity.


Solution

After gathering information about the ways that worker’s would need to access the railcars to perform routine maintenance procedures, Tom Smith worked with Rigid Lifelines to develop plans for two dual track fold-away fall protection systems. Each system is 120’ in length. One system has a 10’ span that covers the one bay of railcars that is most frequently used for maintenance. The other system has a 40’ span that covers two bays of railcars. When workers are attached to these systems, they maintain complete fall protection coverage as they inspect and service the full length of railcars. Thanks to the length of this track system, workers can walk through their maintenance area without needing to disconnect from one system or reconnect to another one.


Impact

The Rigid Lifelines fall protection system has created a safer environment for employees who are responsible for maintaining the railcars. Tom Smith says, “There’s definitely a lot of peace of mind that employees are much safer when they’re on the [railcar] roof.” The employees who use the system have been formally trained in fall protection by a certified instructor.  Thanks to the combined efforts of Rigid Lifelines, Bay Industrial Group, and a thorough internal training program, every employee who needs to perform railcar maintenance tasks can do so in a safer environment.