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Safety Focus: Controlling risks associated with accessing mezzanine floors

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article image Mezzanine pallet safety gates are designed for use when loading palletised items onto elevated mezzanine areas using a forklift or other lifting device
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In this, the final article in this series focussing on musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace, we will turn to a recent safety alert produced by NT WorkSafe discussing the risks associated with workers accessing mezzanine floors.

As we have mentioned previously, falls account for around 20 per cent of musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace. Even from a relatively low height, a fall can cause death or injury such as a fracture, spinal cord injury, concussion and brain damage.

This is a particular concern when workers need to access raised mezzanine areas for work or storage purposes. NT WorkSafe states that any mezzanine area needs a system of physical fall protection to ensure workers do not fall and injure themselves.

Appropriate access and egress must also be available as well as identifying what weight restrictions may apply to the storage area.

A quality mezzanine floor will of course have a range of safety features incorporated into its design. Warehouse By Design , for example, offers mezzanine floors that, in addition to being designed specifically for a given warehouse space, incorporate access stairs, handrails and pallet gates to minimise the risk of falls when workers access the raised area.

Bowen Group is another local supplier of raised mezzanine storage areas. A distributor of Italian-manufactured Metalsistem storage systems, Bowen Group offers SUPER 3, UNIRACK and SUPER 6 mezzanine floor systems, which can be incorporated with other Metalsistem shelving systems to maximise storage capacity.

As with Warehouse By Design's systems, these mezzanine floors can be customised to suit client requirements, with staircases, handrails and safety gates incorporated as required for a given environment.

Before installing a mezzanine area, NT WorkSafe suggests considering:
  • whether goods can be stored in another location to eliminate the need for working at heights; and
  • whether the proposed storage area can be accessed via mechanical aids, eliminating the need for workers to physically access the elevated area.
One such mechanical aid is also offered by Bowen Group. The company's mezzanine pallet safety gates are designed to eliminate the risk of fall by providing safe and controlled access whilst loading palletised items onto elevated mezzanine areas using a forklift or other lifting device.

These mezzanine gates protect the fall edge during mezzanine loading operations, ensuring the safety of personnel when working on raised storage areas, and feature a double barrier gate for optimum safety.

Where a mezzanine floor is installed, NT WorkSafe also notes that workers must be consulted, trained and supervised adequately to further minimise the risk of injury.

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