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Staying Safe When Elevated

Some tips to increase safety around mezzanine floors in the warehouse.

Structural mezzanine floors are exceptionally versatile and useful additions to any warehouse.  They can be used as office areas, despatch platforms, or simply used as extra floor space at an elevated level.  However, the fact that they are elevated means that any failure to exercise caution whilst on mezzanine floors could result in injury.  In fact, falling from elevated surfaces is one of the biggest causes of injury around the warehouse.

Mezzanine floors are too functional to discard, but this means that precautions should be taken to ensure the safety of warehouse staff whilst using them.  Here is a look at how the safety factor of structural mezzanine floors can be improved.

What are the risks?

Mezzanines are rarely fitted without rails, but rails don’t always guarantee safety.  Inferior rails aren’t able to withstand higher forces, and can give way when equipment, stock, or people fall against them.  Also, a person can easily fall over the top of rails if their height is lower than the person’s centre of gravity.

Another risk is loading areas.  It is often impractical to lift stock over guard rails, so many warehouses have gates installed in their rails.  This leaves an open area during loading and unloading, making it easy for people to accidentally step off the side of the mezzanine if their concentration lapses.

Stairs and ladders are another potential danger, and people could fall from a staircase or roll down it should there be no sufficient safety features in place.

How to reduce the risk

Safety rails should be higher than average waist height.  This will prevent people rolling over the top rail should they fall against it.  Also, guard rails should be able to withstand equipment and even the heaviest of people falling against them.

Having a thick board installed around the edge of the mezzanine will help prevent items such as tools being kicked from its surface onto the lower level, and will also help to prevent people slipping below the bottom rail.

If the mezzanine floor is used for stock storage, a safety gate should be installed.  It is imperative that this gate be kept closed whenever there is no loading or unloading taking place.

If there are stairs leading up to the mezzanine, handrails should be installed either side.  It is also a good safety precaution to have a guard rail or gate fitted across the gap at the top of the stairs.

These are some ways in which safety can be increased regarding mezzanine floors.  It is also important to remember that structural mezzanine floors are not inherently dangerous provided the proper safety precautions are taken, and personnel exercise caution on all elevated surfaces.

Image credit: alibaba