According to Wikipedia a mezzanine is, “strictly speaking, an intermediate floor in a building which is partly open to the double-height ceilinged floor below, or which does not extend over the whole floor space of the building. However, the term is often used loosely for the floor above the ground floor, especially where a very high original ground floor has been split horizontally into two floors. Mezzanines may serve a wide variety of functions. Industrial mezzanines, such as those used in warehouses, may be temporary or semi-permanent structures.” It is clear that by this description alone fall protection safety must be implemented into any facility that utilizes a mezzanine.
In the article: “Three-Dimensional Dangers Require Three-Dimensional Safety,” the author discusses one of the most noteworthy changes that OSHA recently made to the Walking-Working Surfaces standard. The rule now requires that employers must protect employees from falls along all sides or edges that are at least 4’ above a lower level. The rule suggests three solutions as fall protection: guardrails, a safety net system, or a personal fall arrest system. A mezzanine is generally at least 4’ above the lowest level and is there for subject to this OSHA standard.
The article talks about reciprocating barriers when it comes to fall protection from a mezzanine. These barriers protect the mezzanine’s open sides at all times. An entrance with two gates that open and close alternately in order to ensure constant guardrail is a frequently used system for companies with mezzanines. Automatic gates as well as manual gates are available. The article also suggests having a raised toe board on any mezzanine barriers in order to prevent products from accidentally being pushed off.
SlipNOT® can help with slip and fall protection on elevated work surfaces as well. Non slip handrails provide extra protection for workers on mezzanines as well as slip resistant grating and stair treads. This high traction surface will keep workers from slipping and falling on their way up and down from the platform as well as giving them sure footed confidence while on the mezzanine. The friction from the products may help reduce any products from being pushed around as well. If your mezzanine is already in place and a total rebuild is not an option, consider retrofitting a SlipNOT® product over the existing flooring. Slip resistant expanded metal, perforated plate or solid plate all make great options when wanting update slippery raised platforms. These products can be easily welded down.
When it comes to employee and product safety on mezzanines and stair cases, don’t take any chances. Be sure that your barriers, guardrails and flooring are all up to OSHA standard are in the best interest of your workers.
Olsen, Andy. “Three-Dimensional Dangers Require Three-Dimensional Safety.” www.ehstoday.com. Sept. 11, 2017. October 9, 2017. < http://www.ehstoday.com/safety/three-dimensional-dangers-require-three-dimensional-safety >