As a business owner, you know that ensuring the safety of your staff and customers is of paramount importance. If your building features a mezzanine, catwalk, or similar open upper floor design, then you will need to install guardrails to prevent potentially fatal falls. The following tips can help you choose the right guardrail system.

Know the Proper Regulations

OSHA regulates guardrail safety in the workplace, so they are the first place that you need to check to ensure the guardrails you choose are suitable. OSHA regulations provide minimum height requirements, as well as rail spacing and guidance on what areas of your building may require the installation of the guardrails. For example, the vertical supports in a guardrail must be no more than 19 inches apart, and the entire system must be able to hold up to a downward force of at least 200 lbs. There may also be local regulations that are stricter than the OSHA requirements, so you need to check with municipal building codes, as well.

Choose Between Movable and Permanent Systems

A movable guardrail system sometimes referred to as a temporary system, can be useful in areas where you sometimes need to change the configuration -- such as a storage loft area where a permanent guardrail could block access from a forklift loading product into the loft for storage. Clamps are installed on the floor to accommodate the different configurations you may need. The rails can then be moved around within the clamps as needed. Permanent, or fixed, guardrails systems do not provide this option, although you can have gates installed at key points where you may need to temporarily open up the rails to move items.

Consider the Design Choices

The basic design options for the guardrails depends on where they are being used. In a warehouse, where safety is more important than aesthetics, smooth rails with no sharp corners are preferred. Further, you likely want these rails to be painted a bright color, like orange or yellow. On the other hand, you may want more decorative guardrails in a customer area, such as a mezzanine floor in a retail establishment. Faux wrought iron or a glass panel-style with integrated rail may be the better choice in this instance. The only rule when it comes to design is that the rails meet safety specifications and are well suited to the location to which they are installed.

Contact a guardrail installation service, such as Traffic Control Products Company of LA, Inc for more help.