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Making the Cut: How to Ensure Success and Safety in Rail Cutting

Making the Cut: How to Ensure Success and Safety in Rail Cutting

WARNING: Always follow all manufacturers safety & operating instructions.

The most important factor to consider when attempting a rail cutting job is safety. While modern tools and technology allow cuts to be made at a faster rate than ever before, there are still risks involved. However, there are also ways to consider and avoid these risks. Here are some things to consider to reduce the risk of injury.

Consider the Environment of the Job Site

Hazards and Risks

  • Risk of damaging electrical structures (signals, level crossings, interlocking)
  • Hot Work

How to Avoid

  • Advise Signal Electrician of job location and scope of work to get advice or request attendance if needed.
  • Apply relevant hot works risk controls
  • Consider all PPE requirements (suitable hearing protection, face shield, goggles, gloves, respirator, leather leggings)

Machinery and Tools Defects

Hazards and Risks

  • Equipment failure
  • Incorrect disc / blade (blade shattering)
  • Unsafe handling of fuel
  • Hydraulic oil injection

How to Avoid

  • Review equipment before use to ensure all safety features are working and there is no evidence of any damage or defects.
  • Ensure that the disc / blade is suitable for the equipment and task
  • Check maintenance records, if available
  • Be sure user understands how to correctly handle hydraulic tools

Equipment Set Up

Hazards and Risks

  • Pinching
  • Crooked cut
  • Back injury

How to Avoid

  • Avoid pinch points
  • Mount rail saw clamp squarely onto rail and secure.
  • Attach rail saw to the rail saw clamp after securing the clamp.

Cutting Rail

Hazards and Risks

  • Sparks
  • Struck by cut rail
  • Fire
  • Vibration

How to Avoid

  • Put in place an appropriate exclusion zone (at least 20-foot radius)
  • Confirm equipment is securely clamped to the rail
  • Check the track is suitably restrained before cutting
  • Take care as the rail may move once cut, or blade may jam during cutting
  • Run saw at maximum speed before applying to rail
  • If cut cannot be completed from one side, rail saw should be flipped to the other side of the rail to complete cut.
  • Use a spotter (to extinguish a spot fire if required)
  • Rotate job as required

For an example on how to apply safety measures to a rail cut job, check our safety video.

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