Summer Safety Tips

Week 1 - Let's talk about your plans for washouts and the conditions that could be caused by them, such as erosion. Erosion can carry away rocks, gravel, soil, when wind, water, or other natural forces are present, and this means ballast. After storm conditions, these forces may cause erosion near tracks, existing waterways, and other structures, subject to wind, rain, and water pressure. When you see these conditions, say something. Without a strong and firm ballast foundation, track conditions may vary. Talk to your team today about storm patrols. Do you have them? What do they look like? How frequent will they run? Are they from the cab of a locomotive or a hi-rail or other visual inspection? Talk to your team about your storm plan to sustain safe work practices, and what to do when erosion is spotted en-route or on a patrol or from a bystander. Be alert, be prepared, and always be safe. Continue a solid ground for safety at your company.

Week 2 - Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, Tick?!I ts TIME to get serious about TICK awareness and prevention. Check your clothing for ticks before you enter a dwelling. Shower soon after being outdoors and conduct a full-body check for ticks after working outside. If found on clothing, remove and if possible, dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes to remove or kill any unseen ticks. Areas to check include under arms, in and around ears, inside belly button, back of knees, in an around hair, between legs and around the waist. Wear light-colored clothing, high socks and tuck in pants to socks or boots when working outside.

Week 3 - 

The sun's rays may cause sunburns. So what can we do to prevent this? When we are working outside, ensure you have enough sunblock or sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on any exposed skin, and reapply after two or more hours. This may help to prevent sunburns and other heat related issues, even on cloudy or overcast days. When possible, find an area with shade for breaks to avoid direct sunlight for long periods of time. Brief with your team today about sunburn prevention! For more about sun exposure, check out: 

A special thanks again to Ohi-rail for submitting images to make this safety tip possible!

Week 4
 -  Heat, hot, sweat, a lot? Be sure to pack enough and drink plenty of water to replenish the water your body naturally loses through sweating. Hydrate often, before, during, and after all trips. Seek shade when possible, and when you are finished with that water bottle, be sure to dispose of it in the proper receptacle, not the ground! Stay safe and stay hydrated!

Week 5
 -  Keep It Neat With At Least 50 Feet! It is good practice to ensure 50 feet between standing equipment. This distance can help prevent an incident if any undesired movement occurs and may allow you extra time to respond and avoid injury. Avoid going in-between any standing equipment that does not have the 50 feet of separation.

Week 6
 -  Thermal Expansion or Sun Kinks may occur when extreme heat and sun exposure cause steel to expand. The rigid structure of the track may then buckle or shift to allow for this expansion and release. Increasing track patrol inspections and lowering track speeds to help crews identify these areas, and stop prior, can help avoid an incident.

Week 7
 -  The SLSI worked jointly with many representatives from our industry including safety professionals from each of the Class Is, the ASLRRA and the AAR through a Safety Leadership Forum. Together, we wanted to highlight and refresh safety at the forefront when it comes to the Eclipse event occurring August 21st. NASA has released many safety tips for viewing protection and education. Please check out these eye protection and viewing tips if you plan on watching this event. We also want to touch on the possible trespassing aspect that may arise. Stay alert and vigilant for any suspicious activity, or non-railroad workers on property--Report or notify the proper authorities at your railroad if trespassers are seen. Railroads are 24/7 operations, and we focus our views on safety! Stay Alert, Stay Vigilant! For more information visit:

 Week 8 -  Let's talk about general riding safety. When riding a car for any distance, always maintain 3 points of contact and ensure firm footing in the last ladder rung also known as the the stirrup rung. Riding the side can allow for better sight during the movement, as well as a firmer location for stability in case any unexpected or unintended movement occurs. Riding the end of the car or platform could lead to a fall between the gauge or other injury if unexpected or unintended movement occurs. Think Safe, and Ride the Side!

 Week 9 -  Don't Get Backwards with Safety!As we reviewed riding cars last week, this week we wanted to highlight tank cars. Although it varies from railroad to railroad, there are two common ways to ride a tank car. The safest practice is to secure booth feet in the lower stirrup with both hands on the vertical handhold.Avoid riding with your arms wrapped around the handholds as shown in our picture, or riding the platform.