It’s important to ensure any busy industrial site is properly protected from the range of hazards that are present. But how do you find the right safety barriers for your needs and how do you install them? This handy article should help to explain.
You can read the full article or jump ahead to a relevant section:
- Understanding what you need: What safety barriers are required?
- Investing in New Safety Barriers: What should you look for?
- Installing Safety Barriers: Fitting guardrails correctly
Understanding what you need: What safety barriers are required?
In order to understand which safety barriers are best for your needs and your facility, it is important to review your current safety systems and facility layout.
Perform a Risk Assessment
The first step in creating new safety measures on site is to assess your current facility safety systems and needs. Perform a full risk assessment to identify potential hazards and incidents which may occur that could be resolved if you installed safety barriers.
Be sure to look out for:
- Busy vehicle routes through your site
- Walkways and routes for staff and visitors
- Crossing points
- Important machinery that needs protecting
- Vulnerable structural points of the building (i.e. column posts, corners, walls)
- Doorways and loading docks
Once you have assessed where there are risks of collisions for vehicles, it is also worth understanding how you can use safety barriers to make access through your facility easier.
- Clearly designating routes for vehicles and people
- Adding effective signposts throughout your facility
- Creating specific traffic measures (i.e. one-way systems, two-way traffic lanes)
Research the variety of safety barriers that are available
There are a range of safety barrier types available to suit different facilities and different needs. It’s best to understand the options you have, so you can start to identify the types you need.
Learn more: Safety Barriers in the Workplace
Use PAS 13 to understand what is needed
PAS 13 , an outline created by the British Standards Institution for traffic management procedures, provides in-depth guidance on the correct application of safety barrier systems for a range of needs. The code of practice covers a range of topics, from traffic management and pedestrian segregation to considering lines of vision and even the use of standardized color demarcation to denote clear areas of a facility. Even in the U.S., you and a safety barrier manufacturer can use PAS 13 to determine the most effective barrier configuration for your facility.
Shop around to find what you need
There are a range of trusted safety barrier manufacturers to choose from, so it is always best to do your research first. Understanding what you need from your safety barriers is one thing, but navigating the information given to you by suppliers is another. It is best to question the information and data rigorously to ensure you are happy to invest in a particular system.
A good way to ensure you’re investing in the right barriers is to look at case studies and testimonials from other companies, as well as professionals in Health and Safety and Operational roles. First-hand recommendations can be an incredibly helpful way to understand the pros and cons of each manufacturer.
As the code of practice for safety barrier installation and testing, PAS 13 can help you identify those safety barriers that have been appropriately tested and certified by TÜV Nord and the British Standards Institute.
Finding the right safety barriers for your facility can be a challenge. Speak to a member of our team. We provide friendly, practical advice and can perform a free site survey to evaluate your needs. Let us know if you would like a remote survey completing.
Investing in New Safety Barriers | What should you look for?
There are many things to consider when looking for safety barriers – much of the information and guidance can be found in Britain's PAS 13 guidelines. However, it is also important to consider these other factors:
What is your budget?
When investing in safety systems, decisions often come down to budgetary demands. While price should not be an object for safety, it is understandable that Operations and Maintenance teams will have a limited budget within which to invest in the correct safety equipment. Where possible, calculate how much money you can invest in safety barriers. It may be possible to completely fit your facility with all the barriers required, or you may have to focus your investments in the most vulnerable areas of a site.
What are you protecting against?
The type of accidents and incidents that occur on site can have a significant impact on the type of safety barrier you invest in. We have outlined the types of safety barrier for specific industries and sectors, but the types of impacts you experience can dictate the type of barrier you need.
For example, if the most vulnerable areas of your facility are walls and structural elements, such as pillars and columns, then you may need low-level barriers to prevent vehicles from striking them. If your main concern is segregating people from vehicles, then you will need a run of both pedestrian and traffic barriers to mark out specific lanes and pathways. If you find certain sharp corners or one area of machinery is constantly vulnerable, it may be that the installation of a single bollard could provide the protection needed.
How frequent are on-site accidents?
One effective way to determine which type of barrier to choose (concrete, steel or polymer) is to understand how frequently you experience accidents and incidents on site.
If you find that certain areas of your site are vulnerable to repeated impacts then it is important to invest in safety barriers that can within stand multiple impacts. In this case, polymer barriers are incredibly effective as they can sustain an impact and reform to their original shape. The use of steel or concrete barriers in these highly susceptible areas would require constant maintenance and repair.
What are the long-term costs when investing in safety barriers?
When it comes to considering the long-term costs associated with investing in safety barriers, it’s best to look at the longevity of the safety systems.
As mentioned above, concrete and steel barriers need repairing and/or replacing after a single impact, so you must factor in how likely it is that you will have to replace them over the course of several years.
Polymer barriers can be more expensive than concrete and steel initially, but as they have reforming properties and tend to require minimal maintenance, you are far less likely to have to replace and repair them after each impact. Therefore, polymer barriers can provide an exceptionally good return on investment.
Don’t let tricky questions stop you from finding the right safety systems for your site. At A-SAFE, we are happy to answer any questions you have, evaluate your needs, and suggest the right solutions to suit your budget.
Installing Safety Barriers | Fitting guardrails correctly
Once you have assessed and purchased your chosen safety barriers, the next step is installing them. This is incredibly important as this is what will ensure your barriers are able to take an impact. Below is a short guide on what to consider when installing bollards.
Where can safety barriers be installed?
Safety barriers can be installed anywhere with appropriate foundations. Concrete footings are best to secure safety barriers to the ground and ensure that they can withstand an impact.
It is important to be aware that some barriers – such as steel and concrete – are likely to damage your floor surface during an impact. A collision can rip a barrier from its footings as it defends against impact. Some polymer barriers are designed to absorb impact forces and divert them from its footings to leave your concrete floor intact.
A proper barrier manufacturer should have performed a site survey during the consultation period. This will have included a thorough review of your facility to determine not only where barriers are needed but also the most suitable surfaces on which to install them.
How do I install safety barriers correctly?
Barrier manufacturers should supply the necessary instructions to install the barriers properly. However, it is recommended that you use the suppliers’ own installation teams as they will be more familiar with the barriers. It is the best way to ensure the barriers are fitted properly.
Our fully trained team can survey your site, suggest the right products to suit your needs and even install them for you so you can be sure they’re up to standards. Contact us for a free quote.
Buying and Installing Safety Barriers | A summary
The choice of safety barriers, and the different protections they require might seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that a bit of research goes a long way. By performing a thorough risk assessment, reviewing you choice of barriers and suppliers, and following the installation advice, you can make sure your site is ready to handle any hazard that comes along.
If you’re looking to invest in new safety barriers for your site, A-SAFE can help. Our dedicated Sales team and help you work out what protection you need with a free site survey, while our Installation team can ensure your safety systems are up and running. Call our sales team on (443) 776-3472 or email us at [email protected] and find out what we can do for you.