Published on: April 5, 2013
With just one misstep or accidental slip, a person can fall, experiencing a serious injury or even death. Those who work in the trucking and railroad industries are at even greater peril due to the large machinery that they encounter on a daily basis. Although no one ever thinks it can happen to them, the danger of falling can occur to any person at any time. For this reason, every person who works in an elevated workplace where falling is a possibility, must be prepared by following fall protection rules and by using safety equipment.
Fall Protection Equipment
Trucking and railroad workers are at special risk from falls during their time on the job. However, there is fall protection equipment available to aid in their protection. Most of these are monorail systems that allow for more flexibility and a hands-free work environment.
The Freestanding Horizontal Rail Fall-Arrest System’s portable frame makes it ideal for moving by hand and for working around trucks and railroad cars. Once the system is placed appropriately, it locks into place. The employee attaches their tether to the strong overhead rail trolley, and they are able to move freely along the railcars or trucks to complete their work. At the incidence of a misstep, the overhead bar firmly prevents the worker from tumbling to the ground.
Another safety option, the Mobile Quad Rail System, works through a placement of overhead anchor points on a system that can roll over structures quickly and easily from the ground up. This movement allows workers the most freedom to completely their jobs as necessary. With the option of having multiple overhead bars, this system can accommodate several employees at the same time.
The Twin FlexRail System is the most durable and useful large type of fall protection equipment. Spanning the distance of several trucks or railcars, this track is enclosed by a metal system that provides strength and safety. It is completely hands-free, giving workers the most flexibility and freedom of working conditions available.
Annual Equipment Inspection
Frequent inspection of fall protection equipment is necessary to keep it safe and working effectively. For the highest level of safety, the pieces of equipment and monorail should be examined prior to each use. Inspections should begin visually, as the user should carefully scan the equipment for deterioration and serious wear. Ignoring or missing a visual sign of malfunction could lead to disaster when a worker is relying on the equipment to protect them.
In addition to the worker’s frequent evaluations of the gear, all fall protection equipment should be examined and re-certified at least once every twelve months by trained professionals. Through annual inspections of monorails and load testing of monorails, industry specialists can recognize less obvious signs of deterioration and malfunction that could potentially endanger the lives of workers. Professional inspectors will check each hardware component, lubricate all moving parts, and reset the tension of all self-retracting lifelines. These are important safety points that must be handled by trained experts.
Fall Arrest Training
While fall protection equipment is invaluable for the safety of trucking and railroad workers, it is useless without proper fall arrest training. Through good training, employees are taught the best methods for saving their own lives and those of their coworkers. The main objective of fall protection training is preventing an accident in the first place. This involves instruction concerning each piece of safety equipment as well as training to make the workplace safer. In proper fall arrest training, a team of knowledgeable instructors leads each employee through the process of inspecting and properly using each piece of safety equipment. Through this proper training, accidents can be prevented.