Posted on 09/23/2020 in Guide & Tips

Industrial Railing Guide To Prevent Any Workplace Hazard

In any business, one of the significant concerns of owners is their employee's safety. Any business owner should ensure that they protect employees from any dangers that may happen in the workplace.



For one, the warehousing industry is more prone to hazards as compared to other business sectors. Therefore, there is a higher degree of employee safety standards that business owners need to exemplify. Employers need to provide every employee with personal protective equipment, signage, and above all, safety railings.


 

Although many of us use railings every day, there are still places that don’t know the importance of barriers and often neglect the proper guidelines when selecting safety railings. We've gathered some of the most important measures to consider when installing industrial bars for your warehouse.

 

Importance of Railings for Safety

Before going through the safety railing guidelines, we must first understand edge fall protection, and it's importance in any workplace.

 

Safety railings are heavy-duty poles installed to prevent falls in stairways and raised platforms. It helps employees balance on steps and platforms, provide safety on slippery flooring, and give extra support when carrying unwieldy loads. Furthermore, safety railings provide fencing to restricted areas, protect equipment and stocks, and separate traffic zones. 

 

It is also the most cost-effective insurance protection against expenditures associated with replacing damaged supplies, equipment, warehouse systems, and even employee accidents.

 

If an employee encounters an accident on your watch, you might face some legal consequences as a business owner, especially when you have an unsafe working environment. It will also lead to shouldering not only the expenses of the worker who got injured, but you'll also have to cover repairs of the damage inside the warehouse resulting in lost revenue for your business.

 

Lastly, having the best and essential safety measures inside any workplace are the top indicator of how a company values its employees, reputation, and integrity. Thus, it is vital to have a preventive measure like a railing system in any warehouse.

 

Industry Appropriate Safety Railings

Different warehouse establishments will require different types of railings according to the structure, types of equipment and machinery used, and the variety and volume of stock and merchandise processed daily. Here are the most common industry-appropriate safety railings.

 

  • Industrial Removable Safety Railings are railings that provide the flexibility of removing the safety railing, if necessary. It is secured with a pin or set screw. Removable safety railings are ideal for shipping pits, mezzanines, loading docks, crowd control, and access control. It is the most basic guardrail that's suitable for almost any facility. This type of railing can withstand a maximum collision force of 10,000 lbs from a vehicle moving at 4mph. It is also customizable to suit the layout of any facility.

 

  • Pipe-sleeved guide rails are for high-volume operations and inventory. This type of railings provides additional protection from intense collisions, and it can resist multiple impacts with very little maintenance.

 

  • Drop-in guardrails are often used in areas where the workers need periodic access to areas behind the rails or if the layout needs to be reset regularly.  It offers a versatility that allows you to eliminate elements as necessary without yielding the system's integrity.

 

  • Fix barriers are the type of railings designated for pedestrian walkways or sensitive spaces. This type of railing helps control traffic, prevent vehicle access, and define public and hazard-prone areas. Fix barriers are also used as rack protectors or as pallet backstops.

 

  • Handrails are necessary for addition to multilevel warehouses that exceed 4-feet like mezzanines, ramps, and loading docks. This type of railings provides stability and durability to any high-rise spaces.

 

  • Loading docks rails prevent damage from a collision with vehicles and prevent falls and injury to employees. This type of railing is highly visible and is easily maneuverable for easy access to loading bays.

 

  • Interlocking barriers are a single free-standing unit with a connector to lock units together, creating a barrier. These barriers are mostly for crowd control.

 

  • Bollards and wrap-around guards are the appropriate support for structures such as columns inside the warehouse. They have cushions to reduce collision forces and provide visibility.

 

Guidelines in Safety Railing Installation

Because of the importance of these safety railings, workplaces are encouraged to follow the recommended guidelines according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when installing guardrails in any warehouse facility. 

 

Here are some of the essential protocols to remember.

 

  1. A standard guardrail must protect all platforms four feet or more above the adjacent floor or ground on all open sides.
  2. To maintain the guardrail system's efficacy, balusters, or the vertical guards that support the railing, must be close enough that the opening between them is no greater than 4 inches.
  3. Any railings must be constructed from materials so that employees are not at risk from any punctures, lacerations, or entanglement. It’s suggested to opt for barriers with rounded surfaces rather than those with sharp edges.
  4. For pipe railings, posts, and top and intermediate railings, the nominal diameter shall be at least 1 1/2 inches with posts spaced not more than 8 feet on centers.
  5. Guardrails should have a vertical height of 42 to 44 inches from the upper surface of the top rail to floor, runway, platform, or ramp level. Any safety railings in which height exceeds the maximum size is allowed, provided that it does not expose employees to apparent dangers.
  6. Any guardrail should be visible enough to indicate potential hazards. Thus a bright yellow color is recommended, which is the industry standard color for warnings.

 

Tips for Installing Guardrails

Before installing any guardrail system in your facility, it is vital to consult an expert who can perform a hazard assessment of your warehouse and provide recommendations on which guardrail systems will be the most effective for your operation. 

 

Also, it is essential to obtain railings from reliable sellers with an excellent reputation. It's best to find suppliers with high-quality guardrails manufactured in the United States, as US-grade railings are subjected to stricter manufacturing standards compared to others sold by foreign counterparts.

 

You should also check sizes, configurations, and specifications to know if the guardrail system follows the OSHA standards and guidelines.

 

Furthermore, regular maintenance of your guardrail system is essential to ensure they perform effectively. Constant impact and collision can weaken the structure and integrity of the system. You should also know when the system needs repair and replace it as soon as possible to adhere to the OSHA standards.

 

Takeaway

Safety should be on the top priority of any business owner as it does not only secure its employees; it also strengthens your company's reputation. Thus, take a moment when choosing the right railing system, find the most suitable type for your workspace, and adhere to OSHA standards and guidelines.

 

Author's Bio

Richard Perkins is a freelance writer who is well-versed in topics about Industrial Engineering. He shares his knowledge about the industry through his writing. During his spare time, he loves to create modern and contemporary sculptures made from galvanized steel.

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