How to Choose the Right Indoor Safety Gate for Your Facility’s Needs
As a business owner or safety manager, you are aware of your obligation to minimize fall hazards for your employees. You faithfully follow OSHA requirements for fall protection, and safety is of paramount importance in your facility. That means you’ve installed guardrails around dangerous machinery, equipment, and materials. You’ve protected the leading edge of elevated surfaces like mezzanines and walkways. While, protecting these areas is important, workers still need access to them. When it’s time to choose the right indoor safety gate for your facility’s needs, there are several factors to consider.
Are Indoor Safety Gates Required by OSHA?
The best answer to that question is that OSHA rarely offers a specific way to abate a fall hazard. What OSHA requirements for fall protection do is offer potential solutions to a problem and regulate those specific solutions. For example, OSHA states that you must use fall protection systems and list some devices that are appropriate for the application. In some cases, an offset will serve the purpose. Other times, a safety gate is the ideal way to protect a floor opening, ladderway, or elevated platform.
Do I Really Need Indoor Safety Gates?
The answer is – that depends. Are you confident that every elevated surface, every ladder access point, every floor opening, and every other potential fall hazard has been addressed without them? If you’re not 100% sure that you’ve abated every possible fall hazard in your facility, safety gates are certainly worth considering. You care about your employees and the last thing you want is for anyone to fall and get hurt. You also want to protect your business’s finances, and an accident slows down production and an injured employee causes a wealth of other financial difficulties. Adding a safety gate in the appropriate places will help protect your workers, keep your business OSHA compliant, and it will ultimately save you money.
Benefits of Using Indoor Safety Gates
One of the biggest benefits of installing additions like metal swing gates to your fall protection systems is security. Because workers have to actively open the gate to gain access to restricted areas, there is less traffic and improved safety, and visitors and other unauthorized individuals are also deterred from entering. Also, self-closing metal swing gates ensure traffic is controlled at all times, by automatically swinging closed after every use. By installing an indoor safety gate also you’ll increase safety awareness among employees and make the workplace safer for everyone.
OSHA Requirements for Indoor Safety Gates
If you’ve decided that indoor safety gates are the best way to protect your facility, keep the following in mind. OSHA requirements for fall protection require that any indoor safety gate you install adheres to following:
- The safety gate must be self-closing.
- The gate has to slide or swing away from the opening.
- The top rails, mid-rails, or equivalent intermediate members have to meet the requirements for guardrails in OSHA 1910.29 (b)(13)(i).
- The height of the top rail of your indoor safety gate must be 42 inches, plus or minus 3 inches.
- There cannot be an opening that is greater than 19 inches.
- The top rail has to be able to withstand a 200-pound load.
- The mid-rail has to withstand a 150-pound load
You may already know all of that, but all these factors are important to consider as you evaluate the features and functions of your ideal gate solution.
How to Choose the Right Indoor Safety Gate
When it comes to choosing a safety gate, just like all your fall protection systems, you want to get it right the first time. Just a few of the things you need to consider when shopping for an industrial safety gate for your facility include:
Why Are You Installing It?
The main reasons to install safety gates are worker safety and OSHA compliance. But, it’s more important to define the purpose the safety gate is to serve. How will it improve the safety of workers? Whether you want to restrict access to an area, provide fall protection, or warn of danger, know why the safety gate is important to you.
Where Will the Gate Be Installed?
The type of facility you operate, and area of the building where it will be installed, will dictate the material your safety gate should be made of. For example, if your application is a hot, humid location, you’ll want to opt for a material that won’t rust.
How Big is the Opening?
Whether you need a safety gate that allows a single individual to pass through at a time, or a larger gate big enough for several workers or a forklift carrying a pallet, you have options. In fact, there are a variety of styles and sizes of metal swing gates suitable for all types of applications.
Are There Industry Requirements?
The industry that you operate in will dictate the type of safety gate your facility should have, the material it’s made of, and its finish. If your facility is involved with processing raw food for instance, stainless steel safety gates (with a non-flaking paint finish) may be required versus another material. On the other hand, if you’re working with high voltage electricity inside the facility, a non-conductive material may be required.
Who Is Installing the Safety Gate?
It’s essential that you have a competent individual oversee the installation of any fall protection system or component inside your facility. The person should understand why the safety gate is being installed, how to properly install it, what the OSHA regulations are that govern its use, and how to safely operate the gate.
Unparalleled Passive Fall Protection
When it comes to protecting workers from fall hazards presented by openings, mezzanines, and other elevated surfaces, safety gates are essential. When you’re ready to install safety gates that meet OSHA requirements for fall protection in your facility, rely on Fabenco. We’re fall protection experts, and we can help you find the right safety gates for your needs. Our full line of indoor safety gates is completely OSHA compliant, made of the finest materials, and fully tested to meet the most stringent regulations.