Multi-level environments create a number of advantages and efficiencies for companies; however, there are areas of concern that must be addressed. Unprotected mezzanines or multi-level environments pose a high risk for employee related falls. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are among the most common cause of serious work-related injuries and deaths. In 2016, 849 workers were killed in the U.S. from falls, slips, or trips. Falls to a lower level accounted for 697 of those fatalities.
As companies look to maximize existing space within their facilities, many are turning to mezzanines, elevated work platforms, or multi-level racking systems to create additional storage space or work areas for employees.
These multi-level work environments allow companies to expand useable floor space above existing operations. In many cases, expanding “up” is less costly and time-consuming than expanding “out,” which usually means adding onto existing space, leasing new space or constructing a new facility.
Based on current standards, industrial mezzanines must have handrails and gates around all edges; however, these gates need to be opened from time-to-time to accommodate the loading and unloading process. According to the ANSI standard, there must be full-time protection when loading and unloading materials from an elevated platform. There can be no exposed areas where an employee could potentially fall. As a result, many companies are seeking a solution to secure elevated work environments.
Rite-Hite offers two mezzanine safety gate solutions, the GateKeeper and the RacKeeper. The GateKeeper is a dual reciprocating barrier that makes elevated platform loading and unloading safer.
The RacKeeper functions similarly to the GateKeeper; however, it utilizes the existing rack structure to minimize the footprint in existing or new installation rack bays. These mezzanine safety gates both meet applicable OSHA, ANSI, and IBC standards, including the ANSI standard for elevated work platforms (MH28.3: 2009).