Spring Safety Tips

Week 1 As we are watching the snow melt, and the flowers starting to bloom, also watch out for other tracks....
Whose tracks are on your tracks, right now? 
Trespassers are the leading cause of fatalities on railroads. Staying vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity or non-railroad working person near the tracks is key to proactively safeguarding your company’s safety. Always report any trespassing activity. See something, say something. An issue does not get fixed, unless its first voiced and communicated to the proper channels. Develop a relationship with your local police. Communicate, plan, and identify with your company and local police any areas or times of potentially frequent trespassing activity. Working together with your community can ensure everyone is keeping an eye on safety and security.

Week 2 - Warmer air is a nice effect of spring and summer... but it can also cause the condition of fog. Fog can be present for many different reasons depending on your topography and climate. Visibility can be restricted when fog is present. Ensure you are always visible to your crew when the range of vision is restricted. Wearing clean and reflective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and maintaining clear communication on the radio can assist in letting your crew keep tabs on each other. If you use a vehicle in the yard for operations during fog-like conditions, it would behoove you to keep the lights on at all times. Operate the vehicle at slower speeds, and always stay clear of any tracks. Be aware of your surroundings and focus your attention to the task at hand. Even if it is foggy, keep a clear sight for safety.

Week 3Don't be fooled this April! Be prepared for the coming days and months of warmer weather, including the creatures the warmer weather draws out from their winter naps. Always have an emergency response plan discussed with your crew. Be prepared!

Week 4 -Wearing gloves could help you prevent a bite or sting from creatures that are hiding in dark or murky areas. Be sure to inspect any area you are about to reach toward especially if light is limited. Use lanterns or flashlights to ensure the area is safe for hand placement.

Week 5 - When operating a wheel handbrake ensure your fingers and thumbs are not within the inside spoke areas. Unexpected movement from the brake wheel could cause injury. Hold the outside rim of the brake wheel firmly and make rotations in a controlled manner, without locking your fingers within the spoke areas. Quick yanks or rotations to the brake wheel may not allow for a firm hold and may also cause injury if other obstructions occur during the movement. Slow, controlled movements and rotations on the brake wheel are most desirable and may prevent injury.

Week 6 -
 Patrol and remove overgrown plants or weeds in work areas to prevent tripping hazards and potential injuries. Weeds can we home to other biting insects and so clearing the brush and weeds from work areas could be another way you can help your railroad stay tick or other insect bite free! When grass, ragweeds, vines, and other plant life become overgrown it is often hard to determine what the ground underneath looks like for firm footing and so, as soon as possible report and properly remove any overgrowth that could affect your safe operations. Provide feedback when the task is complete. Have the "overgrowth plant" talk with your company today to identify, address and remove any areas of concern to prevent injury!

Week 7 - Clearances? And no, not the kind at the mall...Close Clearances are major topics to discuss at your company or railroad. Make sure new hires understand what and where these important points are, what they look like, and how operate near them safely. Talk to your crew whenever you are going to a facility that has close clearances and ensure it is a part of your safety briefing. Identify all areas with close clearances and mark them with the proper close clearance signs when possible. Riding on equipment into these areas can be fatal, so play a part in safety and brief about these areas prior to the approach or movements within. If unintentional close clearances are created by vehicles, portable equipment such as pallets or other temporarily stacked material located close to the tracks, be sure to notify your team and the customer of the potential hazard. Make it common practice not to ride equipment into these areas. Ensure a safe distance to detrain prior to a clearance point before further movement. Cutting any corners, but particularly with close clearances could be your last. Be aware of your surroundings, always brief about these points, and never ride equipment into tight corridors or close clearances.

Week 8 - Yard drainage can be in full effect in Spring. If water collects in low points in a yard these areas can become slippery and potentially become inaccessible. Avoid heavy use in these areas and always report to the proper contact about these areas. Ensure there is a plan at your railroad, including a timeline if possible, for immediate water removal and water control.

Week 9 - Let's take a look, and then a second look about safe habits when entraining, detraining, and otherwise using equipment.Always check the ladders, side sills, and other walkways before use. Visually inspect for any cracks, defects, missing pieces, or other rusted areas. Checking these appliances could save you and your team from a fall injury. Always inspect equipment before use, report any identified issue promptly, and avoid use.Safety is everyone's responsibility-- keeping a sharp eye out for these areas that have everyday use, like ladders, and handholds, are key to preventing injuries!

Week 10
 - Spring can bring rapid changing weather to our properties. With heavy and sudden rainfall, creeks, rivers, and other bodies of water can flood or overflow without much warning. Be prepare by having a plan at your railroad- identify any bodies of water near your property and ensure your railroad has an emergency response plan in place on what to do if a sudden washout occurs in any area. Restrict use of these areas with any equipment and if you see something starting, make sure you report it. If a river level next to your tracks is looking higher than normal, tell your team about this for additional awareness. Being alert, sending the proper notifications to your team, and avoiding these areas in particular could help to prevent an accident or injury under these conditions.

Week 6