One aspect of work-safety protection that doesn’t get discussed often is railcar fall protection. For industries that make use of railcars or tankers, this part of the safety procedures and protocols need a great deal of focus and attention to detail. 

It’s a complicated process: it’s not about height, as most railcars don’t go higher than 15 feet, and it’s not about crowding either, as most rail yards are significantly less populated than manufacturing floors. However, falls can still happen, with workers who work on the surface of these cars being most at risk.

What the Regulations Say

While there are already OSHA regulations in place for fall protection and prevention for workers with duties and tasks at anywhere over four feet, railcar fall protection requires more attention. There will be 15 feet of height between the employee and the ground when they are working on the surface of the railcar.

According to current OSHA standards, current fall protection doesn’t specifically address the fall hazards, but mere personal protection equipment standards will not be enough to ensure employee safety. It’s acceptable only if the employee is working on top of a stock inside or against a building, where you can install fall protection.

Best Practices for Railcar Fall Protection

In accordance to regulation 1926.501(b), which is one of the guidelines for fall protection, “each employee on a walking/working surface of 6 feet or more above the lower levels shall be protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.” In short, should there be an area where an employee must be working on top of a railcar, there must be an appropriate guardrail or netting system ready there for them when they are working.

It’s best to seek out a company that will be able to give you the right netting or guardrail system that can adequately protect employees from harm while working up on railcars, tankers, and other systems. Head to KC Supply and learn more about jobsite safety and equipment.