Trip/fall potential of walking on railroad ballast
Slips, trips and falls are responsible for a major portion of occupational injuries in industry. The U.S Department of Labor reported that the number of fatal falls in 2007 was 835. an increase of 39 % since 1992. The increase of fatal fall injures was mainly of falls on the same level. The Railroad Safety Statistics showed that ground, ballast, or floor were principal causes of over one half of all severe injuries. Railroad workers who work mainly on ballast represent less than 10% of the total population of railroad employees; however, they experience 28% of reportable injuries and 42% of the days absent from work for all railroad employees. The main objective of this study was to investigate how walking on different ballast types influences the probability of a trip or fall. Surface orientation (Level and Sloped) was also investigated to identify factors that may increase the likelihood of a trip/fall. Ten healthy male subjects tested six combinations of two slope orientations (level and sloped) and three surface types (flat surface, large ballast, and small ballast). The two types of ballast used in this research were both crushed rock. The large ballast had a diameter of between 2.5 - 5.5 cm and the small ballast had a diameter of between 1 . 1 - 2.7 cm. The current study provides evidence that there is a relationship between walking on different surface conditions and gait patterns and that these changes in gait pattern could result in additional fatigue. Walking on large and small ballast significantly increased heel and toe clearance compared to walking on a hard. Hal surface. After walking on large and/or small ballast for a long lime, fatigue may affect a person's lower extremities so that heel/toe clearance is not met. This could ultimately lead to catching ballast with the heel or toe and the initiation of a trip induced fall. It is recommended that employers provide a working environment to: I) control working time on larger ballast. 2) train workers about the importance of being aware of the walking surface and the potential increase in trip/fall likelihood when fatigued 3) provide periodic rest breaks to minimize fatigue and provide opportunity for rest and recovery.
University of Utah;
Accidents; Railroad employee injuries
University of Utah;
Relation-Is Version Of
Digital reproduction of “Trip/fall potential of walking on railroad ballast” J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections HD30.5 2009 .Y66