FRA issues safety advisory over bridge walkway hazards

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently issued its Safety Advisory 2011-03 to remind railroad bridge workers, contractors or subcontractors to a railroad of the dangers of crossing unsecured sections of walkways and platform gratings.

The advisory contains a number of recommendations for employers and urges that fall protection be used to decrease the number of accidents.

"The regulations require railroads and railroad contractors to provide, and employees to use, fall protection and personal protective equipment, including head, foot, eye, and face equipment," the report stated.

FRA regulations require that a personal fall arrest safety device or safety net be used when bridge workers perform duties 12 feet or higher above the ground or water. Appropriate systems can consist of an anchorage, connectors, body harness, lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or a combination of these components.

Preliminary investigations conducted by the FRA found that although some exceptions apply to these regulations, none of the recently reported accidents were found to be exempt from fall protection standards.

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