(Newsletter, Jan., 2024)
Welcome to the January edition of our newsletter, where we explore the latest developments in rail car operations and safety. This month, we shine a spotlight on the use of mobile rail car access platforms with fall protection, highlighting how they contribute to safer and more efficient operations.
Safety First: OSHA Regulations and Compliance
OSHA Requirement for Safe Access and Fall Protection: OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandates safe access and fall protection measures when personnel need to climb over 6 feet. This is particularly crucial in rail car operations where personnel often have to connect vent lines for vapor recovery, take samples, or connect loading lines on top of the cars. The railings on top of liquid rail cars are only 30” high to meet DOT regulations. However, rail cars or rolling stock as described by OSHA, require handrails to be 42” high and when a rail car pulls into a site, it is considered a platform. Safety cages are provided to provide a handrail height to meet the OSHA regulation. Other means of fall protection like life lines and body harnesses are at times utilized, however, per the OSHA hierarchy of fall protection, lifelines and body harnesses are the last measure to implement.
Regulations: For more information you can look further into 29 CFR 1910 Subpart D – Walking-Working Surfaces which specifically addresses walking-working surfaces and outlines the requirements for fall protection systems. Compliance with such regulations is not just a legal obligation but also a commitment to ensuring the well-being of our personnel.
Mobile Rail Car Access Platforms: A Safer Solution
New Platform Design with Adjustable Height Platform
Efficiency and Cost-effectiveness: Unlike traditional fixed loading racks that require foundations, permitting, and expensive steel structures, mobile rail car access platforms provide a faster and more cost-effective solution for certain applications. The installation of fixed loading racks often involves various trades on-site and can cause operational disruptions and lead to more project management efforts. In contrast, mobile solutions can be quickly deployed without the need for extensive construction and associated downtime.
New Platform Design with Slide Out Gangway & Safety Cage
Enhanced Safety Features: Mobile access platforms are equipped with fall protection safety cages that ensure the safety of personnel working at heights. This is particularly crucial when performing tasks on top of rail cars, where the risk of falls is inherently higher due to various task that have to be executed while working over 12’ or higher. Full rail car access platforms are provided with stair units, all handrail, midrail, toeboard, and slip resistant grating walk surface. This makes transition from grade to the top of the car safer, and easier on operators who at times have to take heavy tools and fittings to the car top. Mobile units can be moved by UTV’s, tractors and trucks.
Examples of Real-world Applications: Streamlining Operations
Connecting Vent Lines for Vapor Recovery: Our mobile rail car access platforms facilitate the safe and efficient connection of vent lines for vapor recovery. This not only ensures compliance with environmental regulations but also minimizes the risk to personnel during the process.
Sample Taking and Loading Line Connection: Whether taking samples or connecting loading lines, our mobile solutions provide a secure platform for personnel to perform these tasks without compromising safety. The versatility of these platforms makes them essential for a wide range of rail car operations.
Conclusion: Embracing Innovation for a Safer Future
As we navigate the dynamic landscape of rail car operations, it is crucial to embrace innovative solutions that prioritize safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Our team is investing in making mobile rail car access platforms with fall protection better, easier to use and install to ensure you have a safe working environment that is also cost effective.
Stay tuned for more updates on the latest industry trends and advancements in the coming months.