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When it Comes to Railway Safety, Stay on Track

Railway Safety

Railroads are inherently dangerous places to work. An average freight car weighs more than 250,000 pounds when fully loaded, and some cars carry toxic chemicals, spent nuclear fuel and radioactive earth from old nuclear energy sites, according to Safety Management Group.

The dangers for workers are serious. For example, workers who don’t follow proper safety procedures when loading and unloading cars may be injured; a worker who gets trapped between two cars or falls under a moving car can lose limbs or be crushed.

To protect workers, proper railway safety procedures should be in place and followed at all times, and workers must always be aware of potential hazards. Employers also must keep workers safe with equipment that protects them. Here are some hazards in and around the railroad business and ways to keep workers safe:

  • Injuries: If you need to adjust equipment on the train, use the proper tools. For example, trying to adjust coupler height with your foot can result in losing a limb. If you need to climb up on a car’s ladder or stand on any of the walkways, be sure to maintain three-point contact at all times.
  • Weather: Inclement weather creates hazards. For example, rain, snow and ice can increase the risk of slips and falls, especially if you don’t have the proper guardrails or other safety measures in place.
  • Visibility & Communication: All personnel working near railcars should wear high-visibility apparel, such as reflective vests. If there are places where visibility is limited and workers should not cross the tracks, guardrails can add an extra layer of security. If there is limited clearance between railcars and a structure, safety signs should be posted to warn that there’s no room for a worker.
  • Loading & Unloading Cars: When loading and unloading a railcar, balance is important. The weight of the contents must be as equal across the car’s width as possible to prevent the car from falling off the track. Proper procedures must be followed and consider that bulk materials such as cement, grain, sand and dry chemicals may interfere with the ability to open and close gates and doors. But trying to open doors by hand can lead to injury. Instead, workers should use tools such as pneumatic boxcar door openers.
  • Moving Cars: Railcars should only be moved with equipment that is specially designed to do so. Using jobsite equipment to move railcars is dangerous and may damage the cars. All car doors and other movable surfaces such as hopper gates must be closed before cars can be moved. Wheel chocks help make sure that the car’s wheels won’t roll or move. If cars need to be moved, railcar lifters can do the job safely.

For all your railway safety needs, visit KC Supply carries an extensive line of safety supplies for the railway and other industries. We are your local experts and can help you determine what you need to keep your employees and facility safe. Call 1.800.KC.SUPPLY.


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Protecting Yourself from Silo Gases

Spending any time inside a silo can be dangerous. The risks include an employee slipping and falling into the agricultural product inside, or inhaling silo gases and getting sick. Silo gases also can negatively impact your livestock.

The most common silo gases are carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Types and concentrations of silo gas vary depending on the type of silo and how much time has passed since the grass or other green fodder (silage) was placed in the silo, according to Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Agricultural Safety and Health.

The most plentiful type of gas in a conventional silo is nitrogen dioxide, which has a bleach-like odor and produces low-lying yellow, red or dark brown fumes. Nitrogen dioxide is heavier than air and so tends to settle on top of the silage or to flow down the chute and collect in adjoining feed rooms or other low-lying areas near the base of the silo.

Silo gases can cause serious respiratory issues, Pennsylvania State University found. Nitrogen dioxide causes severe irritation to the nose and throat, which can lead to lung inflammation. After low-level exposure to nitrogen dioxide, a person may not notice any discomfort initially but may later suffer from fluid collection in the lungs that may be fatal. Prolonged or recurring pneumonia-like symptoms can occur two to six weeks after initial exposure.

Pennsylvania State University suggests several things you can do to decrease the risk of exposure to silo gases, including:

  • Ventilation: In a conventional silo, ventilation is the best protection against nitrogen dioxide buildup in areas of your facility. For example, provide adequate ventilation in and around your silo during the first 72 hours of silage fermentation and for at least two to three weeks after filling the silo, and keep the door between the silo room and the barn closed.
  • Timing: Avoid the silo during critical periods when silo gases are forming. Gas concentrations are highest between 12 and 72 hours after filling. If possible, don’t enter the silo for two to three weeks after filling because of the high level of silo gases. If you must enter the silo during that time to level silage or set up an unloader, enter immediately after the last load is in and before the fermentation process begins.
  • Personnel: Never enter a silo without another person directly outside who can quickly get help if necessary. This person should maintain visual contact with you at all times because if you are overcome by silo gas, you may not be able to call for assistance.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): If, in an emergency, it is necessary to enter a silo containing silage, the individual entering the silo must wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and harness attached to a lifeline and anchor point.
  • Signage: Post appropriate signs around the base of the silo, warning people of the potential for silo gases.
  • Gas monitor: To keep your facility safe, you need a way to accurately monitor the atmosphere for dangerous gas levels. Because most gases are undetectable to humans, it is critical that you have the right tools to keep your personnel and property safe at all times. Gas monitors are typically portable, allowing workers to clip them onto their uniforms. Monitors can detect one or several different gases simultaneously.

Silo gases are a serious but invisible threat. It’s critical to protect your facility and employees. KC Supply Co. will help keep your workplace safe. Call KC Supply for gas monitoring products to protect your employees and facilities. Call 1.800.KC.SUPPLY or visit to learn more.

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Workplace Injuries Cost $1 Billion Per Week

According to the 2018 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, U.S. workplaces are getting safer. The survey found a 1.5% overall reduction in serious accidents. However, workplace injuries are getting more expensive for U.S. businesses.

According to Liberty Mutual, serious workplace injuries cost businesses more than $58 billion in 2018 — a nearly 3% increase from the 2017 findings. That means workplace injuries currently cost more than $1 billion each week.

With workplace injuries costing so much, you’ll want to make sure your business is doing everything it can to mitigate risk and keep employees — and your business — as safe as possible. Understanding risk is the first step to protecting your employees, so here are the top 10 causes of disabling injuries at U.S. workplaces, according to Liberty Mutual:

  1. Overexertion: Injuries from excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing cost businesses $13.7 billion.
  2. Falls (same level): Falls on the same level, such as slipping on a wet floor, cost $11.2 billion.
  3. Falls (lower level): Falls to a lower level, such as from a ladder or platform, cost $5.9 billion.
  4. Struck by object or equipment: Getting hurt by an object falling from above cost businesses $5.3 billion.
  5. Other Exertion/Bodily reaction: Injuries from bending, crawling, climbing, reaching, twisting, kneeling or walking cost $4.2 billion.
  6. Roadway incidents involving vehicles: Incidents involving vehicles, such as an accident on the highway, cost $3.2 billion.
  7. Slips or trips without falling: Injuries resulting from tripping over an object or trying to avoid a fall cost businesses $2.3 billion.
  8. Caught in/Compressed by equipment: Getting caught or compressed by equipment, such as rollers or gears, cost $2.1 billion.
  9. Struck by object or equipment: Workers struck by objects, such as walking into a drawer or door, cost $2 billion.
  10. Repetitive motion. Repeating motions or micro-tasks on a manufacturing assembly line cost $1.5 billion.

What can we do to reduce these workplace injuries? Proper training and awareness is the first and most important step. In addition, keeping your work area clean and clutter-free is key, as is being aware of environmental factors that can cause injuries, such as improper placement of equipment or tools. Make sure ladders are in proper working order and all equipment is inspected and maintained regularly. Also, ensure that your employees wear proper safety gear when necessary.

KC Supply has all the safety gear you need to keep your employees safe. Visit to learn more, or contact us today at 800.KC.SUPPLY.


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KC Supply Thanks Customers for 30 Years

As KC Supply Co. celebrates 30 years in business, we want to express our sincere appreciation to our customers, vendors and employees for your loyal support and for the part you have played in our success.

“When our company was founded in 1988, we could hardly foresee our growth to an international supply company supplying thousands of products and services only 30 years later,” said KC Supply President and founder Jeff Lavery. “We could not have come this far without the loyal support and hard work of each member of the KC Supply team.”

What began as a small firm with just a few members has risen up to stand tall amongst the business leaders in our industry. KC Supply has accrued countless achievements and accomplishments, but none more important than the personal relationships we’ve developed with our clients.

We are so grateful to our clients and customers who trust us to provide products and services. Their demands, challenges and feedback have pushed us to improve. Our success story would be incomplete without the support of our clients and customers. Not only have you made us a part of your lives, but you’ve also helped us reach out to the world. You spread the word faster and in a better way than any of our promotional means ever could.

Earlier this year, KC Supply’s President and founder, Jeff Lavery, announced his retirement. KC Supply has been acquired by Scott Moseley, Kansas City resident, who will carry on the legacy of service that Lavery built at KC Supply. Moseley said he is excited to lead and innovate as the market changes.

As we celebrate KC Supply’s success over the past 30 years and look forward to continued success in the future, please know that our commitment to you, our customers, will not change.

“We plan to keep our business and relationship growing with you and continue to provide you with nothing less than the best,” Moseley said.

As always, feel free to reach out to us at 1.800.KC.SUPPLY (1.800.527.8775) and let us help you. Thank you so much for your trust and support! Visit or email

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When Seconds Matter, Rescue Gear Is Critical

Just before 9:00 am on May 30, the Burlington, Iowa, fire department got a call to rescue a farmer trapped inside a grain bin.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, only the man’s head and neck were visible in a grain bin that was about two-thirds full, media reports said. He was trapped for an hour before emergency crews arrived. He had been working to move the grain out of the bin when the top crust gave way, sending him down into the grain, according to local TV station KWQC.

Emergency crews used specialized rescue gear, an interlocking grain tube from KC Supply Co., to stabilize the man inside the bin. When using the tube, it is placed over the victim, easing the pressure on him until ropes and harnesses can be used to pull him out.

Grain was then removed from the bin to free the farmer, who walked out of one of the doors of the bin to a waiting ambulance. He was transported to the local hospital for evaluation, but his injuries were not life-threatening.

“It just turned into a small avalanche, there was an air pocket in there somewhere and it just trapped him,” Diane Lange, the man’s sister, told KWQC. “He’s amazing – took him several hours to get extricated out of there and he climbed out of the grain bin on his own will, it was amazing.”

Battalion Chief Bruce Workman of the Burlington Fire Department said the grain tube and their training saved the man’s life.

The man’s family was so grateful to the firefighters that his daughter purchased a new grain tube to donate to another fire department for use in future rescues.

It’s critical to have rescue gear on hand for grain entrapment and other emergencies. In addition to the grain tube, other key rescue devices include the patented red rescue auger and the silver wall, KC Supply’s exclusive bolted‐on internal and external steps. Scott Moseley, owner of KC Supply Co., said his company is proud to partner with a national insurance company to provide training to first responders with its equipment and talk about the great success stories like Ms. Lange’s father’s. For more information or to order rescue gear so you’ll be prepared for an emergency, call 800.KC.SUPPLY or visit

Watch how one training program uses KC Supply’s Grain Entrapment Rescue Wall and rescue auger to prepare for rescues: For more information about the West Burlington rescue, visit: or


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Selecting Conveyor Pulleys

Conveyor pulleys are used on belt conveyor systems to drive, redirect, provide tension to, or help track the conveyor belt. A conveyor pulley is critical to the reliability and performance of belt conveyor systems.

That’s why selecting pulleys is a critical process – the right pulley keeps your equipment running flawlessly. If you make the wrong choice, such as choosing the wrong size of pulley, it can result in system failure and expensive downtime.

Selecting the right pulley for your system is critical, but not easy. When selecting a pulley for a belt conveyor application, a little homework is required. Here are steps that can make your decision easier and more accurate:

  1. Determine the face length of the conveyor pulley: The face length of a conveyor pulley is a derivative of the conveyor belt width. In bulk-handling applications, an adequate pulley face length is one that is 2 or 3 inches greater overall or 1 to 1.5 inches greater on each end than the overall width of the conveyor belt. Of course, unit handling applications may require you to deviate from these guidelines.
  2. Determine the anticipated belt tension of the conveyor system: Belt tension is the degree to which the conveyor belt is stretched or held tight and is typically measured in pounds per inch width (PIW). Conveyor pulleys and shafts of a larger diameter are better equipped to handle elevated levels of belt tension.
  3. Find the outer diameter & shaft diameter of the conveyor pulley: To properly size both the outer diameter of a pulley and select an appropriate shaft diameter, you first need to understand the key role that selection plays in avoiding the most common cause of premature failure, shaft deflection.
  4. Determine the style of hub connection: The hub is the mechanism that connects the conveyor pulley to the shaft. There are many types of hub connections, all of which offer individual advantages and disadvantages. Consider these things when selecting a hub connection type for a conveyor pulley: pulley position, system load, cost, maintenance and pre-stress.
  5. Determine the pulley configuration: The configuration of a conveyor pulley will affect its ability to effectively operate in a given environment. You should select pulley configuration based on application load requirements, environmental requirements, the intent of the pulley in the conveyor system (head/drive, tail, bend, etc.), and the type, amount and characteristics of the material being conveyed.
  6. Figure out the profile of the pulley face: A conveyor pulley’s profile will impact its ability to effectively track the conveyor belt. The profile of a conveyor pulley should be selected based on the need for belt tracking as well as the belt’s desired life and performance. A pulley profile may use multiple crowns on one common surface.
  7. Determine the appropriate component materials: Conveyor pulleys can be constructed with a variety of materials, but pulley material plays an important role in determining pulley construction and may substantially impact the overall level of pulley performance in operation.
  8. Determine the type of contact surface: The type of contact surface chosen for the pulley face can affect many application variables within the conveyor system. Unless an alternate surface is desired, pulleys are furnished with a plain steel or mill type finish similar to that of a standard tube or pipe. The most common contact surface modifications are those designed to increase the traction or grip between the drive pulley and the underside of the conveyor belt. In addition to providing increased traction, an alternate contact surface may be used to impact a pulley’s wear resistance, ease of cleaning and aesthetics.

Selecting the right pulley for your belt conveyor system can be tricky. If you need help, call the experts at KC Supply Co. We’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have about pulleys and belt conveyor systems, 800.KC.SUPPLY or


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