Industrial mezzanines are a common and practical way to add floor space for warehouse storage and a great use of wasted vertical space. But they can present a significant fall risk if safety precautions are not addressed.
In 2013, nearly 600 workers died from workplace falls and more than 47,000 were injured seriously. And costs related to the accidents are above $70 billion annually in worker’s compensation and medical expenses.
Safety Education is the Key
Mezzanines are prefabricated elevated steel frame structures used in industrial warehouses to increase storage space. They provide a cost-effective solution for additional storage by utilizing wasted vertical space.
If your business is planning to install a mezzanine, you should also have a plan for training your employees on required safety practices when working in and around these areas.
Employers have a legal “duty of care” responsibility for the welfare of their employees. This responsibility involves the following actions:
- Providing proper supervision
- Educating workers on proper safety practices
- Training workers on how to use platforms and equipment safely
- Posting safety operating procedures
- Providing any tools or resources necessary for worker safety
Your employees are your most important asset. Educating them through proper safety training is an investment in the success of your business.
Implement Safety Precautions
According to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards, elevated structures should have no exposed areas where a fall could occur.
All elevated structures must have hand safety railing.
Gates are necessary to allow loading and unloading of materials. But workers should not leave gates open at any time.
Also, employees below mezzanines must be protected from falling objects. Other ways to ensure safety are the following:
- Good lighting
- Cleaning up spills
- Removing clutter and obstructions
In addition, stairs must have hand safety railing, and they should comply with height standards and pressure requirements.
Solutions for Safer Use of Mezzanines
To improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your elevated storage space, develop strategies for complying with ANSI standards for safe operations.
There are several different types of gates available, depending on your operations. Styles include double swinging, pivot and sliding.
Learn More About Safety Hazards
Falls account for 15% of all workplace accidents resulting in deaths. And falls make up 80% of the accidents. But these accidents can be prevented with a good accident awareness strategy and safety education plan.
Beyond a good safety plan, ask your employees to report any safety issues. Also, advise workers to use appropriate footwear to prevent trips and slips.