Fall Protection and Safety Gate FAQs
There are several important questions to consider when differentiating among types and determining the degree of fall protection these safety devices actually provide.
1. At what height do I need fall protection?
OSHA's Walking-Working Surfaces Standard Number 1910.28 Duty to have fall protection and falling object protection requires safety devices on any exposed ledge of an elevated working surface at four feet or higher.
2. Are mezzanine gates easy to operate?
If a safety device is too complicated to operate, chances are it will not be used correctly, if at all. Lift gates offer a barrier, but require effort and a degree of dexterity in order to remove the gate with a lifting motion. Many workers rightfully resist making this motion on the ledge of a high mezzanine. As a result, the ledge is often left unprotected because the safety device is not used correctly.
3. Will it really protect workers when they need it most?
The goal is to protect workers from exposing themselves to an unprotected ledge during their entire work operations. Swing gates are easy to operate, but are often left open while workers receive, break down, and remove palletized materials. This creates a hazardous situation where workers are exposed to an unprotected ledge for periods of time when protection is needed most.
4. Will it be utilized consistently?
Many safety devices rely on the workers to be effective. Workers are required to physically remove parts and must remember to replace them. The best safety devices work automatically. If the gate requires less effort, it will be used more often. To ensure consistency of use, workers should not be able to circumvent the system.