The railroad system has influenced the lives of Americans throughout history in one way or another. This industry houses a massive number of employees to run the system. In a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of railroad workers is projected to grow 4% more.

As most railroad employees work full-time, those employed in this field are exposed to potential safety hazards in the workplace. In fact, railroad employees face more safety risks than any average workplace. Factors like physical labor, working with heavy machinery, and hazardous mediums can pitch in for more calamities.

This article highlights the safety hazards railroad employees and the general public face there and the need to introduce personal safety devices for tackling these hazardous situations to provide a more secure workplace.


Everyday Railroad Risks For Employees 

Here is an overview of some of the risks that railroad employee face during their work hours:

Exposure To Toxins

The most important use of trains is transporting goods as, dynamically speaking, it is the safest way to do so. These goods may include the transport of chemicals, nuclear waste, or petroleum products. 

Needless to say, they pose big safety risks to the railroad workers’ lives which can influence them adversely — and pretty badly. Immediate help along with other safety measures like special handling and special training can reduce the impact of the damages.

Fatalities And Injuries

Railroad staff works long hours shifts and that too sometimes beyond the pale hours. Their exposure to high-speed moving trains, derailment, and heavy equipment makes them more prone to fatalities. 

Similarly, the chance of slips, trips, and falls on the tracks or from moving trains is not something that can be ignored. Preventive measures that include an immediate call for help via a personal safety device can save more lives.

Exposure To High Voltage

Ever heard about arc flash?  Arc flash is a short circuit passed on to the air. More than 2,000 employees who suffer serious arc flash injuries are treated each year in burn clinics. It can be one of the most fatal risks any railroad worker can face since their nature of work involves high voltage. 

Arc flashes can be a result of insulation malfunction, equipment failure, or even birds affecting the leads. If the standard PPE includes a personal safety device for each worker, elevated emergency response can help protect lives.


Harassment is a common workplace issue that can take the ugliest turn. This could come from reporting unfavorable work conditions, poor maintenance, or reporting accidents to the authorities. Harassment, if not reported in such cases, can go from verbal to physical. 

Most railroad workers facing workplace harassment are afraid to report an injury or fill out accurate personal injury information due to the misconduct of the railroad management. 


Everyday Railroad Risks For General Public

It is all too common a story that not only railroad employees face safety risks but the general public also faces them. Here is a peek into some of the common issues encountered.

  • Harassment is also the most common issue for commuters as well. Women being the first target of commute harassment can easily report if they wear their safety devices.
  • Impulsive unfortunate occurrences such as suicides have been long linked to railroads and are very much based on reality. Staff training, station designs, and panic buttons can provide timely support to the distressed.
  • Accidents are prone to happen anywhere. But when such high speeds and heavy equipment are involved, the impact can be lethal. Train collisions, derailments, level grade crossings, slips, and trips on stairs, escalators, or during boarding are common safety hazards for commuters. 

Tips To SafeGuard Railroad Environment Against Safety Risks

Read into these best ways that provide a safety shield against railroad employee safety risks. 

Active Reform Organizations 

Active reform organizations like RWU work to focus on the support, advocacy, and safety of train workers. They enforce improved labor-management relations and nominal work hours to reduce risks that lead to accidents or safety risks the workers go through.

Timely Accident Reporting

Reporting accidents timely is a reliable way of safeguarding railroad employee life. It can help pinpoint the loopholes in the system, may it be negligence from the management or any other procedural issue.

Proper Training

Employees should be given proper training and safety gear to reduce workplace hazards. These training seminars should be a part of the orientation and conducted yearly as well. Following safety protocols can minimize the number of unfortunate accidents from happening.

Introducing Personal Safety Devices

In the year 2021, 3216 non-fatal occupational railroad injuries and illnesses were reported. Taking preventive measures is the best way to combat such risks that can have serious consequences on the life of an employee.

At this level, personal safety devices should become a part of the railroad employee package. These small wearable devices are connected to personal smartphones or tabs via Bluetooth. With the convince of just a touch of a panic button, these safety devices can send alerts directly to emergency centers like 911 or the nearest police stations, hence reducing the response time.

These devices automatically share the live location of their users and can also update loved ones about their well-being via emails, push notifications, text messages, or phone calls. 

Personal safety devices can alert co-employees and supervisors about any potential emergency. The best part is some of the advanced devices come with a built-in speaker so that calling for help doesn’t even require the dependency of using a hand.


Final Thoughts

Train workers are all at inherent high risk for harm since they are exposed to varied surroundings and different tools. Working for railroads is not easy as it comes off as a high-risk work environment with all the heavy mobiles, high voltages, and intense toxins in the picture. 

But that does not imply that the lives of railroad employees are of any lesser value. Inculcating the use of personal safety devices in the work routine of such employees can prove to be quite revolutionary in saving lives from any kind of workplace safety threats. 

Silent Beacon is one such device that surpasses expectations when it comes to personal safety devices with its design, quality, and most important features. With a single press of the panic button, you can call for help without having to use your phone. 

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