Winter weather is in full swing, and we know how important it is to keep our teams and all equipment safe. At Railserve, we’re committed to making sure that happens. That’s why we want to give you an inside look at how we prepare our sites for winter.
First, we begin preparing our locomotives on September 1. We make sure all hot starts are working and check all break line antifreeze so that locomotives are in tip-top shape for full inspections in October.
Next, we perform thorough site inspections, looking for any areas where ice could build up or where equipment could be damaged by snow and wind. We take care of any maintenance issues that need attention before winter arrives to ensure the safety of our crews and the operational viability of our sites. This includes track maintenance and inspection, prepping the yard by removing rocks and filling holes, and stocking our inventory with brooms, shovels, and traction sand.
Finally, one of the most important aspects in our winter preparations is making sure our crews are mentally prepared to deal with frigid temperatures.
Once everything is ready for winter, we make sure all employees have proper PPE so they can stay warm while working outside and still be safe. We supply cold weather PPE, hot packs, foot warmers, ice cleats (which are mandatory as soon as snow falls), and a boot allowance for every employee. We also stock emergency provisions and blankets just in case a site gets snowed in.
Finally, one of the most important aspects in our winter preparations is making sure our crews are mentally prepared to deal with frigid temperatures. We begin discussing lessons learned and challenges of winter work in the summer to give employees plenty of time to ask questions and mentally prepare for working in the cold. To ensure safety, we mandate how long crews can be outside in certain weather conditions. We also make extra efforts to keep morale high and provide hot meals like soup and chili to make breaks as comfortable as possible. At the end of the day, what drives our successes during the winter months is the passion for our work and the trust and confidence our crews place in each other to keep the work environment safe and positive.
If there are any questions about how best to handle cold weather conditions during this time of year at your site, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help keep everyone safe and happy through whatever Mother Nature throws at us in the New Year!