The majority of railroad fires are caused from grinding or welding on the rail. Grinding and welding rail can produce sparks, which is why it is important to follow proper fire risk assessment and mitigation procedures before starting the job. There are several factors involved in assessing the risks for fire prevention. Here’s a few ways to assess the area with some helpful insight of which products are best to use when welding to help keep you safe.
Some of the top feedback we received in fire prevention and safety this season were having awareness of where vegetation is relative to the track, checking the wind conditions to be aware when there is a risk of high wind, and checking the dryness of the vegetation around you.
There are many risks to assess before starting hot work to determine fire risk. A few include:
- Emergency access (road /off road)
- Fuel type
- Adjacent property (farmland/ residential)
- Fire danger class
- Time of day
- Distance to vegetation
- Wind speed
- Weather conditions
The job doesn’t end when the sparks stop flying. Make sure that any source of ignition has been extinguished, and it’s a good idea to wait a little while before you leave the area completely. One major railroad requires crews to remain in the area of hot work for at least one hour after work has been completed, to ensure they are leaving a safe environment.
When welding and grinding, don’t forget about protecting yourself. Welding and grinding require special PPE in addition to your standard PPE which can include a welding jacket, leggings, welding hood or face shield, and goggles if you’re torch cutting or grinding.
We believe safety is the most important thing to take into consideration. Here are some of the top products we recommend to help keep you safe when welding:
- Wind Meter
This wind meter measures the windspeed, windchill and temperature. Depending on the railroad, some consider environments with windspeeds over 15 MPH high risk. This tool provides an accurate reading. Request quote
2. Fire Rake
The awareness of were vegetation is relative to track is extremely important in preventing fires. This fire rake with a 60” handle helps rake brush out in surrounding areas. Request quote
3. Welders Tent
The IRS125 8’x8’ welders tent is flame and spark resistant with a ventilated mesh top and solid roll down door. We recently redesigned our welders tent so the windows are now lower and wider so any size operator can see outside more easily. This also allows for more ventilation to come through. Request quote
4. Fire Pump 90G
The Indian Fire Pump is a galvanized model with a 5 gallon capacity. Great for areas where you may not have easy access to water from your truck. Request quote
5. Forest Fire Shovel
The forest fire shovel with #2 round point has a 41” handle without turn step. Great for moving dirt to smother smoldering embers. Request quote
6. Spark Shields
We recommend either of these 2 welders spark shields:
- Upgraded spark shield with reinforced corners
- Canvas with steel wire frame
- Sparks don’t bounce off as often
- Folding and lightweight
- Cover is replaceable
7. Pulaski Axe
The Pulaski Axe with handle helps to dig and cut brush to stop a fire if one has started. Request quote
Contact our expert customer service or sales team with any questions related to welding.
These recommendations are for informational purposes only. Always follow the procedures mandated by your railroad.