Accidents and injuries are always possible in industrial or automotive settings, where people are more exposed to the different hazards of the physical environment. The safety of employees in the workplace and motorists on the road is of utmost importance. This is why it is essential to take necessary safety precautions and use appropriate tools to prevent accidents from happening. One of the most effective ways to keep the workplace or the roads safe is by using safety barriers.
Because there are several kinds of safety barriers, you might wonder which one would be most appropriate for your needs. This article will discuss the purpose of safety barriers and the differences between solid safety barriers and soft and flexible safety barriers.
What is a safety barrier?
A safety barrier is basically a physical object that prevents access into a certain area. In a workplace such as a warehouse, factory, or construction site, safety barriers such as fences are intended to keep workers away from hazards, moving parts, or falling debris.
Safety barriers are also commonly used on streets, roads, or highways. Traffic barriers are designed to lead the traffic flow, to redirect an out-of-control vehicle, to control the crowd or to keep pedestrians away from dangerous areas. Whether in the workplace or in the streets, a safety barrier’s main purpose is to reduce the chances of any accidents happening.
What are the different types of safety barriers?
Safety barriers come in many different forms, materials, and designs. In this article, we will categorise them into two main groups – Solid Safety Barriers and Soft and Flexible Safety Barriers.
Solid Safety Barriers
Solid safety barriers include rigid or hard barriers, such as concrete. This type of barrier does not deflect or redirect out of control vehicles. However, these are often used in large-scale roadwork. Because they are more solid and sturdier than the other types of safety barriers, they could contain large and heavy vehicles and equipment.
Semi-rigid steel rails and bars can also be considered as solid safety barriers. They can deflect more than concrete barriers can and are often found in highways and roadways. They are also installed in the perimeters of recreational areas, schools, and other infrastructures for security purposes.
Soft and Flexible Safety Barriers
The most common flexible barriers are wire rope safety barriers. They have steel posts supporting three to four tensioned wire ropes. The wires stretch on impact as they absorb and dissipate the force of the impact during a car crash and redirect the car away from the danger zone.
Another kind of flexible or soft barriers are plastic safety barriers. Made from polymers, plastic barriers are highly resistant and flexible, and can even return to their original state after impact. These are mainly used in parking lots, industrial settings, and airports.
Which kind of safety barrier should I choose?
Solid safety barriers and soft or flexible safety barriers both have their pros and cons. When choosing the right safety barrier, these are the factors that need to be considered.
When it comes to security the more popular option is the concrete safety barriers. Their size and structure makes them quite visible and provides greater physical security. Because of their weight, they cannot be easily removed, which makes them effective against trespassers as well as extreme weather conditions such as strong gusts of wind. They can also withstand different weather conditions better, making them more durable and effective in the long term.
When it comes to impact absorption, flexible and soft safety barriers are superior to solid barriers. They can dissipate the force of the crash away from the passengers and driver, and the flexibility of the wires can deflect and contain the vehicle. According to a study done at the Monash University Accident Research Centre, flexible barriers have significantly reduced injuries and deaths in head-on, loss-of-control, and off-road crashes across Victoria. This makes them the better choice if they are to be used as a roadside or median safety barriers.
Solid safety barriers, such as those made of concrete, can be installed quickly and easily, making them perfect when a fast response is required. There is no need to dig holes in the area for post supports.
Flexible wire barriers, on the other hand, require a more meticulous installation. You have to take several things into consideration such as the height, post spacing, and the distance of the barrier from the hazardous area. You also need to make holes for the posts, but you may opt to use concrete sockets for easier removal of the post when necessary.
Solid safety barriers require minimal maintenance as they can withstand extreme weather conditions and resist everyday wear and tear better. However, they are prone to vehicle damage after impact and you often have to replace the whole barrier when damaged.
For soft and flexible safety barriers, repair costs and maintenance are minimal after an impact. You only have to replace the post or wire that has been damaged by the crash. Because wire barriers are not as sturdy as concrete barriers, they are more vulnerable to damage in areas with extreme weather conditions.
Contact Verge Safety Barriers today!
When it comes to installing safety barriers, be sure to consult your local council about the acceptable safety barrier systems in your area. To know more about the different safety barriers available and to find which would be perfect for your needs, contact Verge Safety Barriers now.