Tips for Choosing a Guardrail System for Your Facility
When thinking of workplace safety, people usually think ergonomically designed workstations, yellow stripes on the floor, helmets and the like. Safety guard rail systems are almost always forgotten until an accident happens, even if a basic steel guard rail makes a far more effective workplace safety solution, especially in industrial environments.
Reasons You Need Guard Rails
It’s true – operator training helps prevent forklift accidents – but building a safety system in your facility is the best thing to do. A lot of facilities just use yellow tape to mark the floor in areas that are off limits or travel paths for forklifts, but such measures fail to provide reliable protection for people who are exposed to the resulting risks.
Certainly, safety barriers are not all the same. For most manufacturers, their protective guard rail should have a 10,000-pound impact rating for, say, a forklift running at four miles per hour. That means if that forklift hits the guard rail, the guard rail will deflect the impact anywhere between12 to 15 inches. If that guard rail’s impact rating were higher by 3,000 pounds at exactly the same speed, the force would be deflected some 10 inches or less. A difference of a few inches may not seem important, but if your warehouse space is relatively small, each inch that may be used for manufacturing or material storage, matters.
Knowing the Needs of Your Facility
The key to safety is knowledge of where it is needed and in what levels of protection. Consider the traffic common in your facility. Do you have mostly people or forklifts? If you know the traffic type, can help more accurately assess the level of protection you need.
When you’re done with that, you can consider the guard rail length and height. As single high guard rail usually enough around a conveyor, but a double high guard rail is more effective at defining a forklift lane in the middle of equipment or through a warehouse. Remember that a lot of vendors measure from column center to column center.
Then there is also pedestrian traffic you should consider. Do you have to lift out rails to let employees get to guarded equipment for maintenance? Should you have gates? You should create a safety solution that is right for all involved.
If you are proactive enough, installing relatively cut-rate guard rail systems, preventing most accidents will come easier. Above all, it offers you peace of mind, knowing that your facility and all that’s inside it, people or equipment, are protected from day to day.