Risk Management and Locomotive Engine Rooms – Case Study

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One of the biggest factors when it comes to risk management is the issue of confined space. OSHA for instance realizes that this is a huge problem and they are concerned with restricted entry and exit locations for employees working in hazardous situations where risk of injury or death is concerned. When it comes to the railroad, and those that work on trains, the engine room is just such a space. In fact, on almost all modern day locomotives there are access doors along the entire length of the motor.

Still, it is a confined space between the pillars for the doors and working between the engine components. Consider if you will that a modern diesel engine has pistons the size of basketballs, and they get very hot. And they leak oil, and there is grease everywhere. It’s impossible to keep them perfectly clean all the time, and some railroad mechanics will tell you that if it ever stops leaking, that means it’s not working. With grease and oil on, in, and around the engine, it is necessary to clean it early and often.

This means hitting it with a steam cleaner, or hot-water pressure washer. Now you are introducing high-pressure, heat, and water to oil and grease. I’d say that’s a little bit hazardous, but it must be done otherwise when the motor is running it would be easy to slip onto moving parts of the motor, and/or burn oneself. Perhaps this is why our contract cleaning company was always busy taking care of our railroad customers.

They wanted the equipment clean, they wanted to save on insurance, and they wanted to prevent accidents. Indeed, from a risk management standpoint, we also had to be very careful when doing the cleaning. For instance we had to clean the outside of the cat walks, all the railings, and the doors first, otherwise we might slip while cleaning the engine ourselves. You see, the point in all this is, it isn’t only the factory floor where you have to worry about risk management, every service company must realize its value as well. Please consider all this.

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Source by Lance Winslow