When a worker is working at a height, guardrails are a stationary (or ""fixed"""") structure that keeps them safe from falls. Because the system doesn't require that the worker be educated to use, inspect, and wear a fall protection device, guardrails are recommended as a method of protecting workers. Because they serve as a visible and physical barrier to assist prevent falls from heights or across levels, such as falls from roofs, balconies, stairwells, or falls into open holes, well-built guardrails are a dependable and practical method of fall protection. Where walls, floors, or covers cannot be erected or are impractical, guardrails are employed. Guardrails are employed in every industry and are common in places like retail stores, industrial settings, building sites, warehouses, transportation facilities, and any workplace with a rooftop that is accessible.
Are handrails and guardrails interchangeable terms?
Although handrails are frequently found on guardrails, they are not the same thing. When utilizing stairs, ramps, or crossing flat surfaces, people can support themselves by holding onto the handrails. Guardrails are intended to stop falls into openings or over unprotected edges.
When should guardrails be used?
If the risk of falling or working at heights cannot be removed, install a guardrail. When a worker is exposed to a fall from a height or between levels and has access to an unprotected edge of any of the following work surfaces, guardrails should be installed. Guardrails and toe boards should be installed if an employee has the potential to fall into or onto hazardous machinery like a conveyor belt. Before construction starts, make sure the guardrail is put in place around the edge or opening. A guardrail should be installed in the following places: around balconies and mezzanines; along bridges; around catwalks, overhead conveyor platforms, raised platforms, and open platforms on aerial devices; along the open edges of elevated working areas, such as the upper floors of buildings under construction or undergoing repairs; and around elevated work surfaces, such as platforms, scaffolds, runways, and ramps. Use of a guardrail is restricted in most jurisdictions under specific conditions. For exact rules, always check with your jurisdiction.
What primary categories of guardrails exist?
Job-built guardrails and manufactured guardrail systems are the two primary categories of guardrails. In contrast to manufactured guardrail systems, which come in a range of materials and may include mesh, netting, or fencing sections, job-built guardrails are primarily composed of wood. Top rails, midrails, and toe boards with uniformly spaced vertical posts are the conventional components of guardrails. Regardless of the kind, make sure all guardrails are installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and built to regulatory specifications, including those regarding the height and spacing of guardrail components. Guardrails must: in order to stop people from falling; be elevated enough to prevent someone from tripping over them. be able to resist the weight of the quantity of persons who will likely push or lean against them. Also take into account any potential effects from close use of tools and other materials. have posts that are evenly spaced and close enough together to prevent falls through the cracks. Using a constructed guardrail system without vertical posts must offer equivalent protection from gaps of a similar size. be put in place as near to the open edge as possible. extend the entire length of any openings or edges that are not protected. be constructed from materials with smooth, non-abrasive surfaces so they won't harm skin or snag clothing. Metal and wood are often utilized materials.
What do load specifications mean?
Frequently, regulations call for a load specification. The force that guardrails may be anticipated to support is indicated by this criterion, which is expressed in newtons (N) or pounds (lbs). The amount of force used will depend on how the guardrail is applied and the legal requirements in your jurisdiction. The minimum load bearing and height specifications for guardrails and toe boards are also included in the CSA Standard Z797-18 Code of practice for access scaffold.
What else needs to be taken into account while erecting guardrails?
As long as the guardrail isn't completely erected, make sure workers who are close to the exposed edge are prevented from falling by other measures (travel restraint, fall arrest, netting, etc.).
Consider how long the guardrail will be needed when constructing them on the project (and factor in the local weather and other environment). Use only lumber that is at least construction grade quality when constructing the guardrail out of wood. Some legal systems demand that the wood be spruce, pine, or fir (S-P-F) timber. Check the wood for decay or deterioration. There shouldn't be any obvious flaws in the wood that would reduce its ability to support loads. Pick the right fasteners for the materials you're using. A strong enough nail or other fastener must be used to withstand the forces being exerted to it. Make that the guardrail's completed surface is smooth and free of sharp edges, protruding nails, or protruding screws. Don't recycle used building supplies. The quantity of people in a work space is another factor to take into account. The dimensions of the workspace tools or materials being used in the area, their weight, and their nature Whether the guardrails are a long-term or transient fix
What should you do if you need to remove a guardrail entirely or partially?
It may be necessary to remove guardrails or sections of a guardrail in a working area, such as unloading materials at a site above ground level. Observe best practices to prevent falls via unsecured openings. Improper removal of the guardrails can leave protruding edges or parts, like nails, that may injure workers, so use the right tools and follow all established construction procedures. In order to remove a guardrail: Identify the work area that will be affected by the removal of the guardrail. Mark an area large enough to keep unprotected employees away from the fall hazard. For example, in Ontario it is recommended that this distance be """"at least 2 metres (6 feet, 6 inches) from either side of the opening and at lest 2 metres back from the open edge of the work surface"""". Clear that area so it is free from slip or trip hazards such as ice and debris. Mark it off as a fall hazard area with caution tape or a warning barrier. Alert all those working nearby that a guardrail is being removed. Post warning signs outside the roped off area alerting anyone of the danger from the unprotected fall hazard. Set up travel restraint or fall arrest systems for everyone working in the fall hazard area after the guardrail is removed. After the guardrail is removed, everyone working inside the marked off area must use a travel restraint or fall arrest system at all times. When reinstalling or rebuilding a guardrail, make sure it is installed as intended according to the manufacturer's instructions or its original design. Store the removed guardrails or sections in a place where they cannot fall on someone or become a trip hazard."""