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KC Supply Safety Equipment

Rail Safety - Common Hazards



Every Monday by
Grain Journal
Editor Kendall Trump
Slips, trips, and falls are a major cause of injuries when working around railroad tracks. 

For this reason, follow these basic rules:

  • Never walk between rails.
  • Never step on rails. Rails can be slippery, especially when wet or covered by ice or snow.
  • Never cross tracks at switch points. Your foot can be caught between rails or equipment.

Railcars can also move unexpectedly and often silently. 

Therefore, it is critical to follow these safety tips:

  • Always stop and look in both directions before crossing tracks.
  • Always maintain adequate clearance when crossing in front of, or between stationary railcars. Workers must have enough clearance to move out of the way should the cars or engine move unexpectedly.
  • Always follow your company's distance requirements when crossing in front of or in between decoupled railcars.
  • Never cross under railcars.

In addition, remain aware of areas with restricted clearance on the side of railcars, engines, track mobiles, and locomotives. 

This may include areas adjacent to load-out or receiving activities, buildings, fences, and gates.

These areas should be marked with a warning sign such as "DANGER, CLOSE CLEARANCE. DO NOT RIDE ON TOP OR SIDE OF CAR."

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills,, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple, Inc., Olathe, KS;


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