Benefits of Having Separately-bolted Barrier Segments and Gates Rather than the Continuous Setup
A set up of separately-bolted safety barriers and gates can make a huge difference in terms of improving workplace safety. Installing segments of barriers separately will improve how they protect pedestrians, machinery, and equipment.
Employers and safety managers are always searching for ways to improve workplace safety. They are aiming to avoid downtime, costs, and injuries caused by accidents. Thus, they are constantly looking for ways to maximise safety equipment performance.
This blog will discuss the benefits of separately-bolted safety barriers and gates. We will also cover the hidden dangers of having continuous safety barriers and gates in the workplace. But first, let’s discuss workplace safety.
Why is safety important in the workplace?
No matter how serious the risks are, unless safety precautions are taken, accidents can greatly affect the entire image of a workplace. Moreover, employee motivation will most likely decrease affecting productivity and ultimately the company’s profits.
Most importantly, workplace safety is about the well-being of the employees. Workers should return to their homes without harm, with not so much as a single scratch on their skin.
And yet, accidents still happen. So what are the common workplace accidents and which one is the most dangerous?
Common workplace accidents
The most common workplace accidents are trips, slips, falls, falling objects, exposure to harmful substances, and forklift collisions. These accidents cause injuries that range from mild to severe and often lead to death.
These accidents cause about 95,000 injuries and 100 deaths occur every year. Forklift collisions are the main causes of these accidents.
Collisions can either be:
- forklift vs. pedestrians
- forklift vs. forklift (or other vehicles) and
- forklift vs. structures (e.g. walls, columns)
4 main causes of forklift-related accidents
Inefficient traffic management
Most accidents happen in workplaces with inefficient traffic management. Examples of inefficient traffic management are people working near forklifts and a lack of safety barriers and gates.
Assisting a forklift
There are incidents where a worker was hit by the load. Often, they were attempting to adjust the position of the load so it won’t fall off. Another common accident occurs when a worker is hit by the load because the operator did not use the fork arm attachment.
Forklifts can tip-over on sloping or uneven ground. A forklift tip-over can injure or kill an operator especially if they are not wearing a seatbelt. Also, there are incidents where pedestrians nearby have been injured or killed in a forklift tip-over.
A forklift’s enclosure creates blind spots. Blind spots make it difficult for operators to see pedestrians nearby. Moreover, when forklifts are travelling in reverse, the operators are unable to see if there are pedestrians behind them.
Below are other structures that can make a driver’s visibility problem even worse:
- columns and walls
- storage structures at aisle-way entrances
- pallets stacked with materials.
So how do you minimise workplace accidents involving forklifts?
Installing safety barriers and gates on an area’s critical points is a primary way to reduce workplace accidents from happening.
What are safety barriers?
Safety barriers place a physical obstacle between different areas of a workplace. First and foremost, safety barriers are mainly used to alleviate risks. They prevent pedestrians from entering high-risk areas. Likewise, safety barriers prevent forklifts from hitting pedestrians, machinery, walls, and columns.
What are safety gates?
Safety gates act as a reminder for pedestrians to stop and then observe the surroundings before entering an open area or crossing. Safety gates are primarily used in high-traffic pedestrian and forklift intersections.
Are pedestrians completely safe behind safety barriers and gates?
Even if safety barriers are installed, along with the safety regulations and strict rules, pedestrians and forklift operators are still at risk of sustaining life-threatening injuries. Why?
If you’re a business owner or a safety manager, there are factors that you need to consider involving your workers.
The 4 types of a worker's behaviour that can lead to accidents
Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
A worker with a drug or alcohol problem is a health and safety issue in the workplace. Additionally, a worker taking some medications is no different from a worker under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some medicines can cause drowsiness which can affect a worker’s alertness and concentration.
A decrease in safety awareness
A worker’s safety awareness slowly decreases throughout the day as complacency and fatigue sets in.
Overconfident workers neglect safety regulations thus causing harm to other workers and damage to property.
Enforcing a speed limit inside a workplace won’t matter if an operator is too distracted at the wheel.
With this in mind, there is no assurance that a forklift won’t crash into safety barriers and gates. So how do you control this type of workplace hazard? The answer lies in the way safety barriers and gates are installed.
How safe are pedestrians behind safety barriers and gates?
In general, safety barriers are made from steel and are designed for stability and longevity. They are bolted to the ground to withstand impact from forklifts. But can barriers withstand the impact caused by an out-of-control forklift travelling above the required speed limit?
Safety barriers undergo crash tests to ensure they can protect pedestrians from forklift collisions. However, a medium-sized forklift is as heavy as an average dump truck, which is about 9,000 lbs. A vehicle that heavy moving at a high speed could potentially cause safety barrier to bend or in an extreme case be flattened or pushed over.
The hidden danger of a continuous barrier system
If the safety barrier system installed is continuous or interconnected, a vehicle can push a whole row of barriers and gates down. This can potentially injure pedestrians nearby. Even if pedestrians are far from the point of impact, if they are too close to the barrier, they are at risk of getting hit (by the barrier). If a speeding forklift crashes into a segment of a continuous barrier system, the whole structure (of barriers) can fall over.
The benefits of separately-bolted safety barrier segments and gates
1. Reduced damage to property and equipment
If the barrier segments and gates are separately bolted to the ground, there is less damage to safety barriers, forklift, and structures in the case of an impact. The damaged barriers are the ones that are hit directly by a speeding forklift. Because they are bolted separately, the other segments are not necessarily affected by the impact.
2. A lesser chance for pedestrians of getting knocked over
Pedestrians are less likely to get injured as long as the damage doesn’t spread past the segment of the barrier that has been hit, as it would with a single continuous barrier.
3. Lower costs to replace damaged barriers and gates
The cost of replacing damaged barriers will be reduced because there’s no need to replace a whole structure of barriers. You only need to replace a segment or two.
The risk of collisions in a workplace is a key concern of business owners and safety managers. This is especially true if there are employees and vehicles sharing space. They should implement the installation of separately-bolted safety barrier segments and gates in their workplace. Surely, this would help reduce the amount of damage and injuries when a collision occurs.
Give your employees a safer workplace with Verge Safety Barriers and Gates
We have already installed separately-bolted safety barriers and gates for thousands of our customers. We firmly believe that setting up safety barriers and gates this way can make a difference in improving workplace safety. Contact us today so we can help you turn your workplace into a safer work environment for your employees.