Guardrail Systems

Guardrail Systems

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Join HSI Chief Safety Officer Jill James as she visits environmental health and safety professionals in their workplaces to explore important workplace safety topics. This video covers what guardrail systems are, the components that make up a proper guardrail, and how they relate to fall protection measures.

Video Transcript:

Hi I'm Jill, Chief Safety Officer with HSI. I'm former OSHA inspector and I'm here to help you identify and correct workplace hazards.

For this series we are at the beautiful Monterey Bay Aquarium to show you that no matter where you work, safety training is for everyone.

When you're doing your safety audits be on the lookout for fall hazards and look for guardrail systems or incomplete guardrail systems and more importantly when you're doing those safety audits talk with your employees ask them about their work habits ask them about tasks that they're doing from Heights. Maybe you'll learn something about fall protection that they need or maybe a safety platform with a guardrail system where maybe one doesn't exist anymore. And maybe it's a job that they do every day or once a year.

Now today we're looking at a fall hazard here at the aquarium when we're trying to maybe bring something from a lower level up to this level we have a fall exposure. When the doors are closed we don't have a a hazard, but as soon as we open them we have the potential for a fall, and anytime we have a fall height of four feet or greater we have to provide a fall protection. So when these doors are open our fall protection measure is this guardrail system which can be removed and lifted out of place to receive product that might be coming up here on the tines of a forklift. Next let's take a look around the aquarium to find other fall protection measures and guardrail systems.

If you need a guard rail system particular to protect employees from falling here's what you need to know: It needs to be comprised of a top rail then you need a mid rail that's halfway between the top rail and the floor below. This one happens to have two materials which is perfectly fine and then the last component is the toe board, and the toe board is in place to protect employees who might be working below from tools or equipment that could be kicked onto them. Finally a complete guardrail system needs to be able to withstand a two hundred pound load coming at it from any direction applied to the top rail.

Behind me is an example of a work platform. It's a pretty large one and when you do your safety audits you want to make sure that you have a complete guardrail system all the way around the working edges of that work platform and you'll want to make sure that it's a complete guardrail system having its top rail mid rail and coping.

I'm often asked if cable guardrail systems are acceptable and the answer is they can be as long as they have the right tensile strength to withhold that 200-pound load and they're constructed the same way with the top rail and the mid rail and the toe board.

In the 20 years that I've been in this practice of safety the most common thing I find with guardrail systems is really incomplete guardrail systems, or finding out through employee interviews that they have to go places and do jobs where there isn't fall protection for them. Whether that's a platform with a guardrail system or a personal fall arrest system so when you're doing your safety audits you mindful to ask those questions of your staff.

I hope you gained a safety skill today. If you know someone who needs this go ahead and pass it on.

Safety is everyone's business.

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