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Fall Arrest & Fall Protection Systems for Railcars

Rail yard supervisors are under enormous pressure to keep their work areas safe and operating at maximum efficiency. Smooth and slippery tank cars, rain and snow covered ladder rungs and railings, and variable loading platform shapes and heights expose your workers to significant fall hazards.  Keeping rail yard workers safe requires a comprehensive fall prevention strategy, which includes the proper mix of fall protection equipment, personnel training, and partnering with a fall protection company that appreciates the unique nature of the potential fall hazards associated with your industry.  Whether your application requires a “L” or “T” style horizontal lifeline system, a rigid rail fall arrest system, or an access platform equipped with a gangway, we have the design, fabrication, and installation experience to keep your facility in compliance with OSHA compliance while keeping your personnel safe.

We are a complete turnkey provider of rail yard fall protection systems and have years of design and installation experience in the railroad market sector.  Contact us for expert assistance with your fall arrest, fall restraint and fall protection safety requirements.

Fall Protection Solutions

Design Considerations

There is no one “best solution” to all railroad car and train siding fall protection hazards. Each situation is unique, requiring a site assessment and an engineered solution to meet your specific needs.  Individual railroad companies have their own specifications, and the configuration of each rail yard, as well as the materials moving through these areas varies widely.  A fall protection system designed to accommodate the storage and servicing of stationary rolling stock needs to provide different coverage from fall protection equipment installed for loading and unloading grain or coal. Industrial rail sidings found at factories, in underground mines, outside quarries, servicing wharves, foundries, refineries, and warehouses each in turn need their own engineered solution to protect railcar workers from falls. Although elevated catwalk and gangway systems, fixed platforms, and climbing up the back or side ladder are all common, from a best practices standpoint, use of an elevated platform with a fold down gangway that allows an individual to be elevated to the height of the top of the railcar is preferred. Railroad personnel are protected by a guardrail while attaching their SRL and walking down the gangway to access the top of the railcar. Railcar load and unload facilities typically require an overhead fall protection system. On taller, railcar facilities where working heights allow, permanent horizontal lifelines, rigid beam systems, and gallows style fall protection systems are common.  In applications where a gallows style system is under consideration, the depth of the water table, as well as the condition and compaction of the soil must be assessed to ensure an adequate foundation to support the weight of the system.  For site-specific maintenance, or temporary railcar access, a portable fall protection system may also be utilized.  Regardless of the system, care must also be taken to specify materials that are appropriate for use with the materials commonly found in the yard (e.g., chlorine, acids, etc). Our years of experience in the railroad and railcar industry will help us implement a turnkey fall protection system that keeps your employees safe and your facility compliance with all OSHA regulations.

OSHA Regulations

  • Personal Fall Arrest Systems
    • 1926.502(d) ''Personal fall arrest systems.' Personal fall arrest systems and their use shall comply with the provisions set forth below. Effective January 1, 1998, body belts are not acceptable as part of a personal fall arrest system. Note: The use of a body belt in a positioning device system is acceptable and is regulated under paragraph (e) of this section.
    • 1926.502(d)(16) Personal fall arrest systems, when stopping a fall, shall:
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(i) limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 900 pounds (4 kN) when used with a body belt;
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(ii) limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when used with a body harness;
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(iii) be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m), nor contact any lower level;
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(iv) bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet (1.07 m); and,
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(v) have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of 6 feet (1.8 m), or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less.

Talk to a fall protection specialist

Tell us about your fall protection needs, and we’ll configure a system that rises to your challenges.