FRA issues safety advisory following rail bridge falls

Washington – The Federal Railroad Administration recently released a safety advisory (.pdf file) on fall protection for railroad bridge workers following three incidents that occurred between 2008 and 2011, one of which resulted in a fatality.

In each incident, FRA found that the worker was not using personal fall arrest systems while stepping on an unsecured walkway or platform grating. Also, safety net systems were not in place during each incident.

The advisory reminds workers to use proper fall protection and personal protective equipment. According to the advisory, bridge workers conducting installations and repairs 12 feet or higher above ground or water are required to use either personal fall protection or be provided with a safety net. Additionally, the safety advisory provides the following recommendations for supervisors of rail bridges that contain grating:

  • If work requires unfastened grating, refasten it immediately after.
  • Mark any unfastened grating, especially sections of grating shorter than 20 feet.
  • Ensure workers can navigate around obstacles such as on-track equipment.
  • Provide daily safety briefings on fall protection when workers will be working with unsecured grating.

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