The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently noted that falls in the transportation industry are covered under the American National Standard Institute (ANSI)/ASSE Z359 Fall Protection standards, including rolling stock, which refers to all vehicles, such as trailers, that move on a railway. The response is due to a recent request from a safety product manufacturer for interpretation of rolling stock as it applies to the Z359.0-2009 and ANSI/ASSE Z359.2-2007 Fall Protection standards, according to an ASSE press release.

The Z359 Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) stated that an interpretation was not necessary, as the committee agreed that the scope of the Z359 ASC and its projects and standards have always included rolling stock and therefore it is not exempt from the standard. The question of whether Z359.0 and Z359.2 apply to rolling stock was asked due to a proposal that the Z359 Committee develop a standard addressing fall protection specific to rolling stock. However, the committee notes that the transportation industry as a whole has also always been covered under the standards, and is not exempt.

Transportation-related incidents continue to be the number one cause of on-the-job-deaths; and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2008, the number of fatal work injuries in rail transportation increased. The Z359 ASC is concerned with falls from heights in the transportation industry including stationary vehicles, equipment, and railroad cars. Transportation professionals can turn to the current standards for guidance regarding fall protection.

ASSE serves as the secretariat for the Z359 Fall Protection standards, or Fall Protection Code. The ASSE Fall Protection Code currently includes nine standards: Z359.0-2009 “Definitions and Nomenclature Used for Fall Protection and Fall Arrest;” Z359.1-2007 “Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems and Components;” Z359.2-2007 “Minimum Requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program;” Z359.3-2007 “Safety Requirements for Positioning and Travel Restraint Systems;” Z359.4-2007 “Safety Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems and Components;” Z359.6-2009 “Specification and Design Requirements for Active Fall Protection Systems;” Z359.12-2009 “Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest Systems;” Z359.13-2009 “Personal Energy Absorbers and Energy Absorbing Lanyards” as well as the historical ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-1992 (R1999).

For more information on the Z359 Fall Protection Code, version 2.0, visit For more information on the rolling stock issue, go to ASSE Transportation Practice Specialty’s interactive online TransActions newsletter at turn to page 27.