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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every industry. Now the economy is clearly picking up and manufacturing and oil and gas production are back in full swing. Safety measures are now more important than ever, especially those related to fall safety.

While addressing fall hazards is critical in all workplaces, it is of particular concern in chemical, oil/gas refineries, cement, and many other heavy manufacturing facilities. Continuous process facilities are busy, complex, and hazardous, requiring compliance with a variety of safety regulatory requirements. There is hazardous equipment on site, which is regularly transported and received via a busy loading dock, and many elevated areas where there is a risk of falling.

1. What makes fall safety so important?

Every accident has multiple consequences, the most important of which is that no employer wants to see workers injured. Lack of safety compliance means possible downtime and lost profits. Every slip, trip, and fall results in millions of lost working days a year. Independent surveys estimate that about 20% of worker injuries in the industry are caused by slips, trips, and falls.

Actively creating and supporting a safety culture in the workforce is critical, but simply reminding employees to watch their steps is not enough. Fall protection equipment, including specialized components such as adjustable safety doors or turnstiles, is critical to ensuring worker safety and keeping production running smoothly. To help you understand and implement proper fall protection. Let us examine the highest fall risk areas in industrial/refinery facilities and then consider whether your company has fully addressed these risks.

Make Sure Your Workplace Up to OSHA Compliance

2. Areas of fall risk in the workplace

Manufacturing/oil refineries include several important areas where fall hazards exist. Regulations do not always specify which devices you need to use in each case. But OSHA guidelines state that the gates and other equipment you choose must meet the requirements for each area:

1) Ladder

Portable or stationary ladders are a common fall safety risk that is addressed by OSHA in Section 1910.23, “Walking Work Surfaces: Ladders.”

Each employer must look at the use of ladders and determine the fall hazards associated with them. For example, ladders do not usually require fall protection. But they do if used on elevated platforms or in areas near unprotected edges. Fixed ladders, such as those commonly used in oil refineries, also require fall protection. Such as guardrails equipped with industrial safety turnstiles to provide access control and fall safety.

2) Roof and roof access area

Workers may need to enter the roof for maintenance, cleaning, or to work on roof machinery. Skylights, roof edges, and even stairs need to be protected to properly manage roof access. The height of the railings and safety turnstiles protecting each area must be 1050 mm (plus or minus 75 mm) from the walking/working surface on which they are installed. They must be able to withstand 90 kilograms of downward force on the top rail without failure. They also need smooth surfaces that won’t snag on workers’ skin, clothing, or equipment. You should also consider non-penetrating options so that you can place securely anchored gates and railings without damaging the integrity of the roof.

3) Loading dock

Loading docks are another busy area for manufacturing plants/oil and gas refineries and therefore another fall safety hazard. Fall protection at loading docks often takes the form of self-closing, adjustable loading dock safety door systems, and comprehensive training of personnel to ensure risk reduction at busy docks. The height and strength requirements for railings and gates in the loading dock area are the same as for roof areas (see above).

4) Stairs

When the door or gate on the stairs is opened, there is a platform, and the swing of the gate does not disturb the workers on the stairs. Outdoor or indoor flat doors are perfect for this situation. Stairs must also be kept well-lit, dry, and free of debris so that workers have maximum safety when moving between manufacturing/processing areas.

5) Interlayer

The extra storage created by these elevated platforms is very useful in many facilities. But they also present a fall hazard. The roof’s sturdy railings and safety door requirements apply equally to the mezzanine level, and toe plates may also be needed to help prevent small objects from falling into the work area below. A dedicated pallet safety door designed for mezzanine use is your best option to access these areas

6) Mechanical protection

Safety turnstiles are an excellent tool for controlling access and preventing falls around or above potentially dangerous machinery in a facility. They can also help prevent unauthorized access to restricted processing areas, improve plant security, and protect trade secrets.

Industrial Safety Gate

3. How can you ensure that your workplace is OSHA-compliant

There are eight things you can do to ensure compliance:

  • Understand and comply with regulations: Learn more about the OSHA standards and requirements that apply to your industry and workplace. This includes safety equipment, chemical management, working environment, emergency response, and more.
  • Create and implement Safety Policies: Develop and implement applicable safety policies and procedures in accordance with OSHA requirements. These policies should include emergency evacuation plans, incident reporting mechanisms, training programs, etc.
  • Conduct a workplace assessment: Conduct a comprehensive assessment of your workplace to identify potential hazards and risk factors. This includes aspects such as the physical environment, equipment safety, and human behavior.
  • Provide employee training: Ensure that all employees receive relevant safety training. Including the proper handling of hazardous materials, emergency evacuation procedures, use of personal protective equipment, etc.
  • Implementation of safety measures: according to the assessment results and standard requirements, take the necessary safety measures to reduce and prevent risks. This may involve buying and maintaining security equipment, updating workflows, and more.
  • Regular inspection and maintenance: Inspect the workplace regularly to ensure proper operation of equipment and systems, and repair or replace damaged equipment. And maintain a clean and tidy working environment.
  • Recording and reporting accidents: Timely recording and reporting of any work-related accidents or occupational illnesses, and investigation and improvement as required by OSHA.
  • Cooperation with employees: Establish a good communication and participation mechanism, and encourage employees to provide safety improvement suggestions. And jointly promote the development of a safety culture

4. Why is the industrial safety gate important

The right safety doors help employees and visitors. Contractors at your facility perform their duties without falling and safely access the areas they need to.

As mentioned above, there are many areas of your plant where there are potential fall hazards. Choosing the right industrial safety gate can play an important role in preparing you for a full return to production without getting into safety issues.

Industrial Safety Gate

5 . Conclusions

That’s all about making sure your workplace is OSHA-compliant. If you have any questions or ideas for this article, please feel free to contact Aotons!

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