Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Oct 03, 2018
Adding an industrial mezzanine to your warehouse is an efficient way to increase floor and storage space in your facility. Designed as temporary or semi-permanent structures, industrial mezzanines are usually free-standing and can be supported by either structural steel columns and elements or by racks and shelves.
Unfortunately, a large amount of preventable workplace accidents occur in mezzanine areas, including incidents that occur due to falls, drops and slippages from the mezzanine level. The use of the proper guardrails, hand rails and mezzanine gates can help prevent these accidents and protect employers from being cited for fall protection violations – OSHA’s top cited safety violation.
OSHA regulations for mezzanine guardrails are outlined in standard number 1926.502(b) of the Safety and Health Regulations for Construction. The standard states:
Top edge height of top rails, or equivalent guardrail system members, shall be 42 inches (1.1 m) plus or minus 3 inches (8 cm) above the walking/working level. When conditions warrant, the height of the top edge may exceed the 45-inch height, provided the guardrail system meets all other criteria of this paragraph.
The standard further explains the minimum level of force and load that the guiderails should withstand:
Guardrail systems shall be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 200 pounds (890 N) applied within 2 inches (5.1 cm) of the top edge, in any outward or downward direction, at any point along the top edge.
When guardrail systems are used around holes used for the passage of materials, the hole shall have not more than two sides provided with removable guardrail sections to allow the passage of materials. When the hole is not in use, it shall be closed over with a cover, or a guardrail system shall be provided along all unprotected sides or edges.
Safety gates should be installed at all openings including entrances to stairways or ladders, and at loading / unloading bays. All safety gates should meet or exceed OSHA and ANSI standards.
A variety of safety gate options are available including:
Designed to close automatically, these gates are often used in high traffic areas including pedestrian walkways.
Single or Double Swing Gates
Single swing gates typically cover openings ranging from 2’ 6” to 4’, while double swing gates cover openings ranging from 5’ to 8’.
Lift Out Safety Gates
Lift out safety gates are completely removable, allowing for the unobstructed loading and unloading of material.
Safety Pivot Gates
Designed specifically for loading / unloading zones, safety pivot gates are designed to block edge access from the mezzanine level when materials are being transferred to / from the mezzanine. Specially designed pivot arms allow the gate to be opened on one side while closed on the other, protecting your employees from dangerous fall accidents.
In addition to installing safety gates, following these safety guidelines will help increase mezzanine safety.
By following these safety guidelines, you will find a warehouse mezzanine will increase your warehouse storage space without compromising the safety of your staff.
Interested in adding a mezzanine of your own? Contact your YorkHoist representative today to find a mezzanine solution for your warehouse or distribution center.
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