Slips, Trips and Falls: The Underrated Dangers of Working on the Rails

Slips, Trips and Falls: The Underrated Dangers of Working on the Rails
3 months ago

Astutis‘ Technical Director investigates the risks of the rail industry and recommends the NEBOSH General Certificate as a perfect antidote for safety

The rail industry has always been an integral part of the transportation network, providing an efficient and reliable means of moving people and goods across vast distances. However, with the benefits of rail transportation come inherent risks. The rail industry is not immune to accidents, and it is essential to identify and nullify the most dangerous hazards to ensure the safety of passengers, employees, and the public.

This blog will uncover the most pressing risks in the rail industry while investigating how the NEBOSH General Certificate for Occupational Health and Safety can nullify and reverse hazards,

So let’s get into the risks!

Derailments

Derailments are fairly common in the rail industry and are caused by various factors, including track defects, human error, and equipment failure. The consequences of a derailment can be catastrophic, resulting in injuries, fatalities, and significant property damage. To nullify this hazard, rail companies must consistently invest in regular track inspections and maintenance to identify and repair defects before they become problematic. Additionally, employee training and education programs can help prevent human error, and equipment should undergo regular maintenance and upgrades to ensure optimal performance. Even if staff are accredited or certified in certain areas, it is always helpful to refresh their understanding, keep them informed on the latest industry regulations, and reinforce complex safety philosophies and practices. 

Collisions

Collisions can occur between trains, a train and a vehicle or pedestrian, or between a train and an object on the track. These accidents can be caused by human error, equipment failure, and poor visibility. To reduce the likelihood of collisions with this hazard, rail companies must invest in advanced safety technologies such as positive train control (PTC), which uses GPS and other systems to automatically stop a train before it reaches a collision point. Additionally, rail companies should implement strict safety protocols to ensure that employees are trained on proper procedures and that equipment is regularly maintained.

Trespassers

Trespassers can cause accidents by walking on tracks or crossing at unauthorised locations. This hazard can be restricted through public education campaigns that inform people about the dangers of trespassing on rail property. Additionally, rail companies can invest in fencing and other barriers to prevent unauthorised access to tracks.

Fires

Various factors, including equipment failure, electrical malfunctions, and collisions, cause fires. The consequences of a fire can be severe, resulting in injuries, fatalities, and significant property damage. Rail companies must invest in advanced fire suppression systems to reduce the probability of fires and ensure employees are trained on proper fire safety procedures.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials such as chemicals and petroleum products are transported by rail across the country daily. Accidents involving hazardous materials can have severe consequences, including environmental damage, injuries, fatalities, and property damage. Rail companies must invest in advanced safety technologies such as tank car upgrades and braking systems to nullify this hazard. Additionally, employees must undergo specialized training on handling hazardous materials and responding to emergencies involving these materials.

The NEBOSH General Certificate is especially relevant to the rail industry because it addresses broader and more niche elements of health and safety, specifically valuable for combating the risks prevalent in the industry. The NEBOSH General Certificate will ensure the rail industries benefits from; 

1. Compliance with legal requirements

The rail industry is subject to various health and safety legislation, including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and the Railway Safety Regulations 1999. The NEBOSH General Certificate thoroughly articulates these legal requirements, guaranteeing that rail industry professionals comply with relevant legislation.

2. Improved risk management

The rail industry is exposed to various risks, from slips, trips, and falls to more severe incidents such as train collisions. The NEBOSH General Certificate provides individuals with the knowledge and skills to proactively identify potential hazards and implement effective control measures to prevent accidents and injuries. This leads to improved risk management across the entire rail industry. Not only that, but it also helps to embed a progressive safety culture in the workplace. 

3. Increased awareness of health and safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate raises awareness of health and safety issues among rail industry professionals. It highlights the importance of creating a workplace safety culture and encourages individuals to take ownership of their safety and that of their colleagues.

4. Improved reputation

The rail industry operates in a highly competitive environment where reputation is critical. By investing in health and safety training such as the NEBOSH General Certificate, rail companies can demonstrate their commitment to safety, enhancing their reputation among customers, investors, and other stakeholders.

5. Reduced costs

Accidents and injuries can be costly for rail companies, both in terms of financial costs and damage to reputation. By implementing effective health and safety management systems, rail companies can reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring, leading to reduced costs associated with compensation claims, legal fees, and lost productivity.

NEBOSH General Certificate for Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is a widely recognised qualification in the field of health and safety. It is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of occupational health and safety principles and practices.

The course covers various workplace health and safety topics, including risk assessment, hazard identification, control measures, legal requirements, and best practices. The certificate is suitable for individuals from various industries and job roles who have responsibilities related to health and safety within their workplace.

The course covers areas relevant to the rail industry, such as:

  • Health and Safety Management Systems
  • Identification and Control of Workplace Hazards
  • Fire Safety
  • Work Equipment and Machinery Safety
  • Electrical Safety
  • Construction and Workplace Safety
  • Chemical and Biological Health Hazards
  • Ergonomics and Physical Health Hazards
  • Occupational Health and Welfare

The course promises to gift a transformational blueprint of effective workplace health and safety practices, helping protect lives and organisations reach their potential. The NEBOSH General Certificate offers a comprehensive understanding of the necessary mindset required to lead safely in the workplace. Several units educate on leadership traits and advise on the health and safety intangibles that can be the difference between saving or not saving lives.   

The course is split into eleven elements that focus on specific workplace health and safety areas. It is structured as follows: 

Element 1: Why we should manage workplace health and safety 

Element 2: How health and safety management systems work and what they look like 

Element 3: Managing risk – understanding people and processes 

Element 4: Health and safety monitoring and measuring

Element 5: Physical and psychological health 

Element 6: Musculoskeletal health 

Element 7: Chemical and biological agents  

Element 8: General workplace issues  

Element 9: Work equipment  

Element 10: Fire  

Element 11: Electricity

Find out how your organisation can reap the benefits of the NEBOSH General Certificate and become an industry-leader in workplace health and safety today by visiting Astutis!

About The Author

Brenig Moore BSc(hons) MPH MEd MCIEH CEnvH CMIOSH PIEMA has over 35 years experience in the world of health and safety. Originally graduating with a degree in environmental health, Brenig knew his calling was keeping people safe from an early age. Brenig established himself as a Senior Environmental Health Officer for almost ten years and served as a Council Member and Trustee for NEBOSH. In 2011, Brenig co-founded Astutis, the industry-leading health, safety and environmental training provider. Currently, Brenig serves as Technical Director and tutors several virtual courses.

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