Access platforms and gangways enable workers to perform tasks efficiently and safely in even the most challenging conditions.

The loading and unloading of trucks and railway cars present unique hazards to workers in the oil and gas, mining, food processing, chemical and agricultural industries. One wrong step could result in serious injury or even death.


Several types of truck and railcar fall protection systems are available to meet the specific needs of industries that rely on the transport of bulk materials. These systems are compliant with OSHA guidelines and protect workers safe in refineries, processing facilities, and railway yards.

OSHA standards dictate that proper equipment must be in place to keep workers safe from falls and other hazards associated with loading and unloading trucks and rail cars. Much depends on the manufacturing or storage facility and the type of materials being handled. Whatever the conditions, the most common concern relates to fall prevention. Without the right systems and procedures, routine work can turn tragic no matter how experienced the employee may be.

By following the rules established by OSHA related to loading and unloading, employers can help guarantee worker safety and the long-term success of the business.

Safety Training

In addition to having the proper systems in place, it is crucial that employees also receive safety training and understand the importance of following regulations.

Unless procedures are established, with clear consequences for failure to comply, even the most sophisticated fall prevention systems won’t eliminate workplace accidents. It the responsibility of the employer to adequately protect workers by providing them with the right information and necessary training.

Platform gangways, portable access platforms, and access gangways are common in industries that depend on the quick loading and unloading of bulk freight.

These systems are dual purpose in that they also offer fall protection for workers responsible for transferring chemicals, petroleum, grain and other bulk materials to and from trucks or rail cars.

All of these systems are available in a variety of durable materials including stainless steel, carbon steel and aluminum which means they are durable enough to withstand years of outdoor and indoor use.

Platform Gangway Systems

A staircase provides access to the platform from which workers can load and unload materials safely and efficiently.

Handrails and mid rails on the staircase and around the platform. combined with toe guards, reduce the likelihood of falls. These versatile systems can be customized to meet any operations individual needs and are available in portable and fixed models.

Portable Access Platforms

This is the best option for operations with limited space.

Portable access platforms can be wheeled out when needed and are adjustable to accommodate bulk and tanker trucks and railway cars of different heights. Safety railings are present on the staircase and platform.

Access Gangways

Existing platforms can easily be retrofitted with an access gangway.

These systems are manually operated and can be raised or lowered relative to the platform. Once the desired height is achieved, the gangway is locked into place to ensure maximum safety. The gangway can also be raised when not in use. Railings enclose the entire system.

The access platforms and gangways can be custom fabricated to meet your loading needs including access to one vehicle versus multiple and they can be used in tandem with an overhead fall protection system. They key is to speak with an expert to find out the most suitable system that will not only enhance your safety but also improve the efficiency of your loading process.

Peter KaviaBy Peter Kavia
CAI Safety Systems
Peter has been a safety expert for almost 20 years and is certified as a Qualified Fall Protection expert. He currently holds the title of Director of Operations for CAI Safety Systems, a custom turnkey fall protection company in Southern California.

No other part of a building absorbs more punishment than the roof. Whether it’s the snow that accumulates in the winter or the rain and hail that pounds away on it during the spring and summer, a roof gets no relief from the elements. This makes it more susceptible to failure.

The best way to avoid issues is to have the roof inspected on a regular basis and perform preventative maintenance when necessary. The only way to do a thorough inspection is by having a trained employee or hired professional check for wet spots, signs of damage or aging material that could possibly fail.

Anytime someone climbs onto a commercial roof there is the potential for injury or even death. Professionals and employees who following proper safety measures and employ the right safety equipment can not only help prevent falls, it can make inspections and repairs less time consuming and more affordable in the long run.

Here are three roof safety maintenance tips to remember.

Safety Equipment

Roof Fall Protection SystemsThere is a great deal of commercially available safety equipment designed to prevent or mitigate falls. Not all of it may be necessary for your particular situation, but some of these devices are well suited to protecting staff during routine roof inspections and maintenance. There are two types of basic fall protection systems to consider an active system that requires a tie-off anchor, anchor on the roof or a passive system such as a guardrail.

Guardrails can help a fall from occurring unlike an active system which may stop a fall in progress but has a greater potential for injury. Two of the most common types of guardrails are non-penetrating guardrails and fixed based guardrails. Non-penetrating guardrails aren’t secured which eliminates the need to make holes in the roof and engineering. They are easily installed and fit the contour of any roof. Fixed based guardrails are attached to the roof by brackets. These guardrails typically don’t require any on-site fabrication and can be fixed to the side or surface of the roof. Both types of guardrails are available in a variety materials such as steel and aluminum.

Follow Procedures

It is important that everyone in your organization knows whom is and isn’t allowed access to the roof. It is better if only a limited number of people share this responsibility. Keep track of the keys that are issued to these individuals and stress that they are never to be given to anyone with authorization to be on the roof.

Safety procedures should be clearly established and adhered to with no exceptions. Even outside contractors and vendors should be bound by the same procedures that your staff is required to follow.


Training should be conducted on a regular basis to ensure procedures are up to date and fresh in the minds of employees who will be conducting inspections and performing maintenance. They should understand how all of the safety equipment functions. The layout of the roof should familiar to them to ensure they don’t encounter any unexpected hazards in the course of roof inspections and maintenance. A one-time training will not sufficient to prepare your people for all of the situations they may encounter.