Savannah River Nuclear Solutions received a U.S. patent for a ladder attachment platform designed to improve safety on railcars.
The platform, which connects to the ladder rungs of a railcar, was invented by principal engineer Richard Swygert to provide enhanced safety for switchmen.
Under normal operations, when railcars are pushed or shoved by the locomotive, a switchman is required to ride on the lead car to flag and provide watch for the engineer.
That task requires the switchman to ride on the ladder attached to the side of the railcar with one hand firmly on the ladder, impeding his ability to operate an emergency brake or radio, or provide hand signals.
The switchman platform, which can be attached to the ladder, provides a stable platform on which the switchman can ride in a standing position, allowing the switchman greater stability and
a safer position from which to operate.
The attached handrails allow the switchman to work independently of the ladder and face in any direction.
Swygert serves as the design authority engineer and cognizant technical function for roads, bridges, railroads, dams, parking lots and general grounds at Savannah River Site.
He was asked by the rail crew to design the platform to enhance their work environment during extended time on duty.
Savannah River Site operates more than 30 miles of on-site railroad. That equipment has been designed, developed and successfully used for railroad shipment operations at SRS since 2008.