Locomotive Hazards and Risk versus
Technologies and Fuels

Figure 1

Figure one shows the relative risks of operating various locomotive
technologies and fuel types.

Note: This study does not include risks due to hazards not dictated
by locomotive or fuels types - such as derailments. It also omits
some incidental hazards associated with specific locomotive types -
such as moving parts in machinery.

Figure 2

Figure two also breaks the risks down by hazards. The larger a color
region is on this drawing, the higher the relative risk for that type
of hazard.

Keep in mind that any and all risks can be managed safely. However, as
a risk becomes greater, the need to manage it becomes much more important.

High Pressure Steam

 This risk is about the same no matter how you fire a steam
 locomotive. It includes the risk of explosion and burns from
 superheated steam.


 By far the most dangerous way to fire anything. Many of us
 have or know someone with first-hand experience with some
 type of propane accident - either explosion or fire or both.
 These are usually associated with barbeque grills and stoves,
 but there are others.


 Oil is flammable. It can be spilled and catch fire. Not as
 big of a risk as using or handling gasoline or propane, but
 the risk is still there.


 About the safest way to fire a steamer. Yes there are still
 risks with cinders, hot coals, and ashes, but still safer
 than liquid or gaseous state fuels.


 Mostly used with internal combustion engines, gasoline can be
 spilled, and is quite volatile. It can also be an eye hazard.
 Gasoline engines also carry an electrical shock hazard, as any
 and all have a spark plug.


 There are some risks with high pressure hydraulic systems.
 Fluids are generally flammable and can be leaked or spilled.

Electric - High voltage

 This carries with it the possibility of electric shock - which
 generally can occur anytime electrical equipment is exposed
 and operating, such as during servicing.

Electric - Low voltage

 Low voltage implies high current. With high current comes the
 increased chance of insulation fires caused by loose electrical