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 Post subject: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:03 pm 

Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 217
In this modern day of safety concerns does anyone out there use any fall restraint/protection while working on top of a locomotive boiler and if so what type. Being afraid of heights didn't help me especially when using both hands removing or installing a steam dome cover on a tall engine.


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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:13 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 165
We installed a 1/2" wire rope (cable) to the roof structural beams of the shop building down the center line of the shop track. It is about 6-1/2 feet over the top of our tallest piece of rolling stock. A person working on top of a car or locomotive can easily reach it to clip in a lanyard to their harness. It is important to have the correct length lanyard. The cable is fastened every twenty feet to the roof and this allows the workers ample leeway to walk back and forth along the car. It has been inspected by OSHA and risk management and both were satisfied with the arrangement. While ½” wire rope may sound like over kill we wanted a robust system that would support simultaneous falls as unlikely as that may be.

CCdW


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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:05 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:25 pm
Posts: 319
First there are some terms you should understand;

"Fall restraint" is a system that does not allow a person to move close enough to an edge to fall over it. Kind of a leash for humans. Fall restraint systems have lower working strength requirements (4000 pounds IIRC). These are sometimes used for roofing, if the worker cannot reach the edge they can't fall off. A fall restraint harness is not sufficient for protection after a fall.

"Fall protection" is a generic term without a specific definition.

"Fall arrestors" are a system that stops downward motion after someone has fallen. These have much higher strength requirements (8000 pounds IIRC). These should have a system to take up the deceleration forces when a body stops falling.

1/2 wire rope is rated for about 10 tons, so if used as an arrest system it would be good for about 2.5 people tops.

Also, it is very important after a fall has taken place to carefully inspect all of the equipment to make sure nothing was damaged. The systems are designed so that the metal materials may yield (stretch/bend) but won't break. If any part of the system yields it must be replaced.

Personally I will not hook up to a system unless I know a Licensed Structural Engineer (PE) has done the appropriate calculations of all components (including the building framing). And I would not let my co-workers hook up either.

And I would not trust an opinion from OSHA, you need an engineering analysis from an insured licensed PE. Too much at risk for anything less. We recently had this done (at my place of employment) for about $2500.

The laws for these systems changed back about 2008 (IIRC) and systems that were ok before that may no longer be compliant.

Just my opinion, I do occasionally work with these systems and specify them.

Edit by author; I should clarify that I am not expressing any engineering opinion about the system CCDW has described. I am not a licensed structural engineer and have not seen the system described. It may be perfectly acceptable. My only opinion is that a qualified PE needs to look at any new or modified installation before it is used.

Good luck and be safe. Cheers, KevinK.


Last edited by NYCRRson on Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 4:59 pm
Posts: 337
Location: western Maryland
Website: http://www.fallprotectionsystems.com/

Company Store: http://www.fpssales.com/xcart/

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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:44 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2560
Location: S.F. Bay Area
NYCRRson wrote:
Also, it is very important after a fall has taken place to carefully inspect all of the equipment to make sure nothing was damaged. The systems are designed so that the metal materials may yield (stretch/bend) but won't break. If any part of the system yields it must be replaced.


Parts of fall protection are sacrificial, they are intended to be used once. Like a baby car seat. If it's had an episode or you have a reason to doubt it, into the trash it goes. On my harness that part can be replaced very cheaply.

CCDW wrote:
We installed a 1/2" wire rope (cable) to the roof structural beams of the shop building down the center line of the shop track.

We have one of those, but it's copper. I wouldn't clip to that :)


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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:42 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9359
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
One excursion line, which formerly had a VERY open and lax policy of allowing visitors to bring air horns to attach to its diesels for a round trip as long as they functioned, and also hosts/hosted an air horn event annually, just announced over the weekend via e-mail that the owner of the track upon which both the tourist line and a freight line operate has now banned climbing atop locomotives without fall protection, including guests, members of the museum, and even the freight operators. They're investigating their options.

So, yeah, timely and pertinent. I guess preventing falls is the latest in a long line of "things to fret about" sweeping through the business world.......


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:09 pm 
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Regarding "Things to Fret About", Part 243 training is right around the corner, just a reminder for anyone who did not read Mike Tillger's posting on the subject a couple months ago.

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?no ... 49.4.243.a

Particularly note 243.5 - Definition of a "Safety Related Railroad Employee".

PC

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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:43 pm 

Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 217
Wow, so far I'm impressed with how intelligent all your replies have been. I do believe even a short fall hitting your head on solid steel or concrete can easily be fatal. Can temporary scaffolding with railings substitute for overhead restraints? What are the positive and negative of each system if any ? Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:52 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 548
A few years ago (obviously) I noticed UP Steam employees in harnesses and safety lines while cleaning the 844 during it's layover on a Frontier Days trip.

As usual, it seems many museums and tourist lines have taken the "lets get by until someone tells us we can't" approach, rather than being proactive in figuring out the safest way for employees and volunteers to work at heights.


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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:37 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:26 pm
Posts: 104
The company I retired from, wouldn't let you just tie off if you could get close enough to the edge to actually fall off. You needed a lanyard or a reel type cable retracting restraint that automatically brought you to a slow enough stop that you didn't break your back.
One thing about expanding lanyards, is that a six foot lanyard will stretch to 12 feet in stopping the fall. If it is attached to your harness about 5 feet above your feet, then you will fall (at least your feet will) a maximum of 17 feet. The reel type restraint will stop you sooner than that. I believe the OSHA construction standard the rule is that you need some kind of fall restraint or arrest system when working near an unprotected edge that is higher than 4 feet.

Tom Hamilton

p.s. a little OT, but how many people climb up on top and cap the stacks on a first generation diesel, if the locomotive is going to be off between weekend runs? Is it really necessary?


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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:55 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9359
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
As someone who has lashed himself to a church steeple to do maintenance work in a belfry, I'm in no way insinuating that fall restraint systems are a waste of time. We no longer consider blue-collar workers expendable commodities like we did a century ago, and the old "he-man macho heroics" that "real railroad men" used to go through are rightfully seen as foolhardy.

The difference is between a locomotive shop on a major or minor railroad (including, in this case, Strasburg, Grand Canyon, Durango & Silverton, etc.) where someone can be realistically be expected to be climbing up on a locomotive cab or roof on a daily basis, and a non-profit steam excursion line where someone might climb up that high maybe once a month. Paying five figures to install a fall restraint system with proper engineering is a no-brainer for the Class One; it's a bit harder to justify for the Podunk & Western.

However, another interesting case study: My own city recently implemented a new trash collection system pilot program, with tests in two neighborhoods. The program involved GIVING homeowners new standardized wheeled trash cans at city expense, with rat-proof plastic and GPS tracker chips to prevent theft and lifting devices on the trash trucks. In six months, the pilot areas had a reported 78% drop in worker injuries from strain and animal bites, which in itself basically paid for the cost of the cans. . . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:32 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2560
Location: S.F. Bay Area
I really hate heights, or to be more precise, I hate falling. The way I handle rooftop work is to gauge my risk, i.e. where will I be working, what happens if I fall. Obviously the engine hood of a Plymouth is quite a different risk than the roof of an F-unit. Or what platform am I working from: a ladder is far more dangerous than a boom lift. Similarly I gauge whether to harness up, depending on the boom lift job. All this pales to lone workers with chain saws.

In that sense, chasing safety issues can be a lot like panicking over an airline flight while feeling safe on the drive to the airport.

PCook wrote:
Regarding "Things to Fret About", Part 243 training is right around the corner, just a reminder for anyone who did not read Mike Tillger's posting on the subject a couple months ago.
http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?no ... 49.4.243.a
Particularly note 243.5 - Definition of a "Safety Related Railroad Employee".
Also the definition of a "tourist railway":
Quote:
§243.3 Application and responsibility for compliance.
(a) This part applies to all railroads, contractors of railroads, and training organizations or learning institutions that train safety-related railroad employees except:
§243.5 ... a tourist, scenic, historic, or excursion operation conducted only on track used exclusively for that purpose (i.e., there is no freight, intercity passenger, or commuter passenger railroad operation on the track).


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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:16 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5716
Location: southeastern USA
robertmacdowell wrote:
I really hate heights, or to be more precise, I hate falling.


Don't worry about falling, Bob.... worry about landing.

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Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:07 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
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Location: S.F. Bay Area
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 Post subject: Re: Fall restraint/protection
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:14 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 986
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Back when TVRM regularly ran the Alcos, the enginemen loved them as you did not have to climb up on the hood to place or remove the stack covers. Each one had a heavy steel rod that was bent at one end. The stack covers had a slot that you slipped the rod into and you could place or remove them while standing on the running board. The Geeps require someone to climb up and could be particularly challenging for short people. A few of us were tall enough that we could set the covers on top of the short hood.

Whether or not stack covers are required depends on your location. If your location is subject to rain and the locomotive is not stored indoors, they're pretty much a requirement. I do remember a couple of times that enginemen started the Geeps without removing the stack covers-a search of the yard followed to find them.

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