Tech Talk Blog

Railcar Fall Protection

Fall protection for railcar loading and unloading applications is more complicated than meets the eye.  You won’t see workers toiling away at impressive heights since most railcars are around 15 feet high.  And to the untrained eye, rail yards and rail sidings appear less crowded than the manufacturing areas inside industrial facilities.   That said, fall protection is an absolute necessity for personnel accessing the top surfaces of railcars and tankers.

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Single Point Anchor Options: The Connect Safe Portable Truss Anchor

In past Tech Talk articles, we have discussed the ABC’s of fall arrest systems—anchorage, body harness, and connecting device.  As this acronym suggests, the starting point for any fall arrest system is the anchor point.  Fall arrest anchorage can take many forms, but in this post, we’ll explore common solutions for indoor facilities housing machinery or equipment requiring routine maintenance and inspection. For the purposes of this post, we will make a number of assumptions to form a hypothetical, yet real world, fall arrest scenario:

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Download Your Fall Protection Guide

fall-protection-guideFall protection education has been a core company value here since our founding in 1994.  Most of our clients appreciate the need for fall protection, but they don’t always understand the different approaches to fall protection or why we recommend one system style over another.

For example, many folks automatically equate fall arrest with cable-style horizontal lifelines, but limited fall clearance applications are better suited for rigid beam rail systems because they minimize deflection.   It’s one thing to hear a fall safety specialist make these types of statements, but quite another to visualize the differences between the two approaches.

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Self-Retracting Lifelines for Sharp Leading Edges

I-Beam-Sharp-EdgesWhat is the best fall arrest option for workers exposed to sharp, unprotected leading edges?   To explore this scenario, imagine a construction worker tied off using a traditional lanyard at foot level and installing steel decking.

If the worker falls, the webbed lanyard will run over a sharp, I-Beam with an edge radius ranging from .005″ to .032”. The I-beam may not appear sharp to the untrained eye, but looks are often deceiving.  If our hypothetical fall victim selects the wrong PPE, our accident scenario can lead to catastrophic results.

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Did You Know?

In construction, any leading edge that is six feet or higher than the surfaces below must be protected from fall hazards?