Thousands of railroad workers are injured every year on duty. Railroad workers deal with a unique variety of risk factors that increase the potential for workplace injury. For example, they stand on uneven surfaces, lift heavy objects on a daily basis, and are subject to intense vibrations and often to the stressors of inclement weather.. With so many possible environmental changes, railroad workers can be seriously injured on the job. To help limit workplace injury, railroad workers can adopt several safe habits and prevention techniques.
4 precautions railroad workers can take to avoid injury
Railroad workers can perform a variety of tasks on the job, including grinding, drilling, hammering, lifting and welding. Handling heavy equipment can increase their risk of fractures, muscle strains, hearing loss and injury due to dehydration. The following are tips that railroad workers can follow to stay safe on or near the tracks:
- Remain hydrated — Dehydration is often linked to injury. Even a case of mild dehydration can drastically cloud the mind and slow productivity. Hydration boosts brain activity; dehydration limits it. Railroad workers should be sure to keep hydrated to maintain their sense of awareness and decrease the risk of accidental injury. Employees can self-monitor for dehydration by checking their urine color — it should be pale yellow — and their body weight. A loss of 2% of body weight over the course of the day can indicate dehydration. Employees should be sure to replace fluids lost through sweat. Educate employees to drink even before they feel thirsty to prevent even mild dehydration. Adding water-rich foods like lettuce, celery, tomatoes, peaches, oranges and apples is helpful too. And, of course, don’t forget the watermelon!
- Assume correct body mechanics — Engaging in ergonomically optimum postures, or correct body mechanics, is crucial in any physically demanding job. Railroad workers need to know proper mechanical techniques when lifting heavy objects and using heavy machinery. Knowledge of correct alignment can help limit awkward postures that cause overuse injuries. It can also help workers avoid repeating damaging motions with improper form. Coaching employees in a proper hip hinge, core muscle activation, maintaining neutral spine, and other cues will help promote proper positioning.
- Rest when necessary — Overuse injuries can occur if muscles and joints are strained to capacity. Resting between bouts of hard labor can help limit overuse injuries like tendinitis and sprains. Rest can be especially important when limiting injuries caused by fatigue. Railroad workers should pay attention to their fatigue levels throughout the day. They should also maintain a consistent sleep pattern.
- Protect hearing — Railroad workers are subject to intense loud noise throughout their shifts. Without headphones to protect their eardrums, consistently loud noises can cause hearing loss and ear damage. Railroad workers should wear protective coverings over their ears to prevent hearing-related injuries.
Work-Fit can help railroad workers avoid injuries at work
Railroad workers are what our team at Work-Fit calls industrial athletes. These workers place themselves in high-risk environments in order to perform physically demanding feats. Our team at Work-Fit can help industrial athletes like railroad workers prevent workplace injuries. Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help keep your employees healthy.