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Mezzanines are a popular way of maximising space in various industry sectors, from offices and retail properties to factories and warehouses. Business-owners that have employees working on mezzanines, however, need to be aware of the safety implications involved. It’s imperative that workers’ safety is properly protected, and that mezzanines are regularly checked for potential hazards.
According to research carried out by government body HSE (Health and Safety Executive), falls from a height were the most common cause of fatal accidents at work in the UK from 2018-2019; numbering 40 deaths. This is an increase from the year before, revealing the fact that those working at a height are at significant risk.
Mezzanines offer additional levels of flooring above the ground floor of any space, which essentially means that those working on them are in fact working from a height. When mezzanines are not well constructed, or the proper precautions are not taken, they can present a serious safety issue. Read on to find out ways in which you can ensure your mezzanine is sufficiently safe.
There are a number of implementations you can make to try to guarantee a 100% safe mezzanine. These include;
Make sure the mezzanine is well-lit. A dark mezzanine will increase the likelihood of those using it to trip and fall on objects that might not have been seen.
Install sufficient mezzanine handrails. It’s important to make sure there are handrails along all outside edges of the mezzanine and stairs, to offer protection to users and minimise the chances of objects falling off the side.
Install kickboards on all edges. Similar to handrails, kickboards on all outside edges will lower the possibility of things falling off, and will offer added protection to those walking on the mezzanine.
Keep the mezzanine organised. Those using the space should all be responsible for keeping it organised and clutter-free. This will lower the chances of trips and falls.
Objects stored on a mezzanine should be secure. As well as having organised storage, boxes, equipment, and machinery should all be stowed securely.
Carry out safety training and implement a safety policy. All staff should receive proper safety training, covering all aspects including trip hazards and spillages.
Adhere to the weight capacity of the mezzanine. After installation, good practice would be to display information regarding the platform’s weight capacity. This MUST be taken into account before installing heavy machinery/equipment and allowing too many people to use the mezzanine.
Install proper pallet gates. If there is an opening on the mezzanine floor to allow pallets to be moved on and off, this space should be properly secured with appropriate gates.
To prevent and minimise accidents in the workplace, it’s important to make sure your mezzanine area continues to be as safe as it can be. To achieve this, regular checks must be carried out. Such checks could be incorporated into other regular procedures, on a weekly or monthly basis. Here’s a checklist of things to consider;
Employee safety should be the primary concern for all business owners and managers. To achieve a thoroughly safe working environment, consideration must be given to aspects including the condition of equipment, the security of the premises, working procedures, and the condition of the working environment. There are potentially more safety risks in spaces that have a mezzanine on site, which means it’s even more important to carry out checks and take measures to achieve safety.