Protect Your Machinery, Equipment & Employees with a Modular Guardrail System
People and equipment are your biggest assets. These two areas, along with a solid business plan, can be what separates you from the competition. A highly-skilled workforce and state-of-the-art machinery can boost productivity, help maintain morale, reduce turnover, and ultimately increase revenue. In other words, these two factors will not only help you get the job done right, it will help establish a reputation of excellence. Investing in and protecting these two key assets is critical to your success - and a modular guardrail system can help you do just that.
Most people assume modular safety rails are used only to protect workers from falling from elevated structures and platforms. While this is important, employers must protect employees from falling onto machines and equipment, regardless of height - and a modular guardrail system is a great solution for those often-unique hazards. Let’s take a closer look:
Machinery Hazards in Industrial Environments
From food processing to gas and oil plants, and countless industries in between, the very equipment you rely on to keep your company running can also present real dangers to your employees. Industrial facilities present numerous equipment dangers. Some are obvious, like meat grinders, pulpers, or vats of acid. However, any heavy machinery can pose a risk. Simply falling onto equipment can cause injury. So in addition to properly training employees on machinery usage and safety, your equipment must be properly guarded.
Guardrails do double duty in this regard: they not only block access as a means of injury protection, they can also serve as a warning sign, drawing special attention to dangerous areas. In addition, modular safety rails can also be used to mark a clear pathway to keep workers from walking near dangerous equipment or accidentally bumping or stumbling into it.
Properly guarded equipment not only protects employees, but it protects the actual machinery as well. Thousands of dollars are invested in equipment that’s critical to your business. Damage to machinery means downtime, repair costs and many times an OSHA investigation that could halt production even longer. Let’s take a quick refresher:
What Does OSHA Require?
OSHA requires that a fall protection strategy be implemented when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of height. Regulation 1910.28(b)(6) specifically outlines the fall protection requirements when working around dangerous equipment. Regulation 1910.28(b)(6)(i) requires that each employee that works less than four feet above dangerous equipment be protected by a guardrail system or travel restraint system, unless the equipment is covered to eliminate the hazard. This protection can be provided in the following ways.
Modular Guardrail Systems & Versatility
Yet, equipment and machinery often has its own unique space challenges. Since modular safety rails are usually made of separate components, they are highly customizable and therefore highly versatile—and may be a smarter, more cost effective choice than a standard safety rail. They can be installed in virtually any environment, and can also be combined with swing gates to allow access to machinery or work spaces as needed.
In addition to being OSHA compliant, a modular guardrail system saves time and money because it is constructed off-site, requiring fewer workers, drastically speeding up installation time and reducing equipment downtime. Fewer people involved plus less time to install equals savings for you. Fabenco’s own modular system, the FabRail needs nothing more than a hex key to install, enabling a permanent, durable OSHA-compliant barrier in no time.
If you need a little more convincing, we’ve compiled an at-a-glance of the top benefits to using a modular guardrail system:
- They’re durable. Traditional guardrails built on site are often made of galvanized pipe. However, the welding process removes any existing coating, putting these parts at risk for rust. While zinc rich paint is often used to cover these spots, it’s not nearly as rust-resistant as the original galvanized coating. Rust isn’t just ugly, it can compromise the integrity of the guardrail itself, negating the whole purpose of it being there. On the other hand, modular safety rails maintain their integrity because they do not require welding. All ends are covered by a fitting, eliminating the problem of rust.
- They’re customizable. Modular systems can be installed in virtually any kind of environment. Regardless of the shape or size of your equipment, a modular guardrail system can easily be adapted to fit perfectly without the cost of producing a custom guardrail system. Additionally, if your guardrail system needs to be moved or the equipment is being upgraded, it can easily be taken down and repurposed.
- They’re OSHA compliant. Modular systems meet all the guardrail requirements under OSHA’s 1910.28(b)(6)(ii)(A) regulation. That includes 1910.29(b)(1) and 1910.29(b)(2)(i), which lay out requirements for height and mid rail placement, and 1910.29(b)(3) and 1910.29(b)(4), which outline the load capability OSHA requires.
- They’re easy to install. A hex key is often all that is needed to install a modular guardrail. Avoiding on site welding eliminates risk of fumes, fire and electric shock.
- They save time. Time is important when you are talking about making a work environment safe. Every minute counts. Off-site manufacturing of your guardrail system can be done quickly and installation can be done in minutes.
- You can still access your machinery or work zone. Modular safety rails are designed to work with a variety of swing gates, so you can safely access your machinery or work zone as needed.
Fabenco puts safety first. We are dedicated to providing high-quality, OSHA-compliant guardrail systems, swing gates and many other industrial passive fall protection equipment. Are you unsure about what products will provide the most practical protection and ensure OSHA compliance? Talk to a member of our team. We’ve been providing solutions to industrial safety concerns for more than 45 years, and we are happy to help.