Mezzanines provide a cost-effective manner to increase the amount of vertical cubes in your facility. This expansion can drive growth and reduce the need for additional locations (especially in this new normal of sky-high commercial real estate prices).
In viewing mezzanine installations, or even when using existing versions, worker safety is of the utmost importance. One aspect of safety that requires special attention is the risk of items falling through the mezzanine. To help reduce these risks, there are multiple protection methods available, but which one is best for your mezzanine?
Mezzanine security options can help you
With the increasing use of mezzanines by those looking to expand vertical cubes in their facilities, there are more and more safety enhancements available. With a variety of options available to help protect your employees from falling mezzanine items, you want to make sure you choose the right product for your application. Combining certain safety options can ensure a greater base of protection in the event of a falling item.
What’s the reason?
Before we review solutions, let’s review what can cause items to fall from the mezzanine area. One of the main components is exactly what you decide to store and access on the mezzanine, and how you store it. If you stack items so high that you can reach the rails of the mezzanine, then this is a practice that requires a security review before reassignment. Such dangerous stacking on the mezzanine will certainly increase the chances of items (or items) falling.
The way items/products are stored plays an important role, but the movement and mobility allowed in the mezzanine is also important. Aisle width, maneuverability around storage methods and worker training are all important factors that need to be reviewed to form a good plan to help protect workers on the floor.
Mezzanine rails therefore add multiple protection options to keep workers below safety in addition to best practices for quality safety training and storage above. When considering which safety product is best for your mezzanine, you must remain vigilant in.
The most obvious choice to begin mezzanine protection is to install guardrails as the first line of defense. Not to be confused with adding handrails to your structure (although we’ll discuss handrails later), adding guardrails to a mezzanine can protect the two employees below from falling objects, as well as prevent those working in secondary protection from falling themselves.
When adding guardrails to a mezzanine, you need to be aware of current codes and regulations. Determining whether you need to comply with OSHA, IBC or other codes is important and will guide your design and product selection. For example, OSHA code requires the top edge of a railing to be 42 inches above walking or working level, plus or minus 3 inches. the IBC also uses 42 inches as its height requirement, but it does not allow for the same 3-inch difference. These subtle differences must be noted to comply and ensure the safety of your workers.
Don’t forget the net!
Adding safety nets to your guardrails will provide additional safety for workers below. When you have inventory stored close to ledges, you may have too much space between your guardrails to adequately prevent these items from falling. To minimize the risk, it is important to install netting solutions specifically designed for applications within the warehouse. Think “gap-filling”, so to speak!
While a railing on the mezzanine is definitely a required line of defense, adding a kickboard should also be a high priority consideration. Not only are workers below in danger of large objects (or people!) ) falling on them, but also smaller items that can easily roll under the railing. By installing a kick plate, you can add an overall high level of protection.
A kick plate is basically a long, strong steel plate that runs up along the edge of the plywood surface. The kick plate is typically about 4 inches high vertically and provides ample protection for items that are dropped or mishandled and reach the mezzanine. Sections of 2, 4 or 8 inches are available for easy mixing and matching for compatibility and complete coverage of the entire surface of the mezzanine.
Even accessing mezzanine areas that require guardrails and kickboards will require your workers to move up the stairs. These stairs should have their own protection solution to protect workers or items from falling on the way up! It’s important to make sure your stair steps follow specific height and load guidelines, but we want to focus on the right railings for what you want.
Modular stair railing
Modular stair railing options exist to provide a simple solution. You can configure the balusters to match your length and height requirements, while still allowing for any future expansion needed. To comply with stair railing standards, make sure you install a height between 34″ and 38″ from the top of each tread. Just like the top rail, you can also use safety netting on your stairs for additional protection.
Complete protection from falling mezzanine items would be a combination of some or all of the options discussed. If you only need to start with one, feel free to choose the one that best suits your application. Each provides a unique way to prevent items from falling from the mezzanine floor, and together they create a barrier for all types of items (or people).
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Post time: May-09-2022