In a typical work setting, railroad brake, signal, and switch operators:
- Have a medium to high level of social interaction with coworkers and the public. They spend time talking to others on the phone or face-to-face.
- Are substantially responsible for the health and safety of passengers and other workers in the train yard.
- Are somewhat responsible for the work done by others.
- Usually work as part of a team.
Physical Work Conditions
- Mostly work outdoors moving cars or loading and unloading freight. They work indoors when assisting passengers.
- Are often exposed to hazardous equipment, conditions, and contaminants in the train yard.
- Are often exposed to uncomfortable sounds and noises made by engines, train whistles, and rail car doors slamming.
- Are regularly exposed to very hot or cold temperatures, depending on the weather.
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- Regularly wear protective and safety attire and gear.
- Are exposed to very bright or very dim lighting on a regular basis.
- Sometimes must get into awkward positions to reach cramped work places.
- Occasionally are exposed to whole body vibration.
- Sometimes are exposed to hazardous situations that may produce cuts, scrapes, or burns.
- Spend time in railroad cars, engines, and carts.
- Must be exact and accurate in performing the job to ensure transportation safety. Errors could seriously endanger passengers or other workers in the train yard.
- Often make decisions that affect passengers, coworkers, and their company's reputation. They may seek input before making important decisions.
- Repeat the same physical activities.
- Set some of their daily tasks and goals without talking to a supervisor first.
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- Must meet daily and weekly quotas and deadlines. Keeping trains on schedule is crucial.
- May work any shift, including evenings and weekends.
- May work more than 40 hours a week during busy periods.