Safety barriers are physical partitions that prevent injury and accidents in industrial applications. They keep employees and personnel away from hazardous and dangerous machinery, control traffic and keep vehicles out of certain areas. They enclose automated and robotic systems and heavy machinery that could cause injury, as well as shelving systems and racks.
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Applications of Safety Barriers
Safety barriers act as both physical and visual barriers, preventing as well as warning workers of danger. They are mostly used in factories, plants, manufacturing facilities and warehouses, and may be used both indoors and out. Wherever a machine containing dangerous parts, such as cutting teeth, rotating parts or a moving belt is, a machine guard should be as well. They are usually permanent constructions, but may be relocated if necessary.
Safety barriers include gates, fencing, railings and barricades, which are usually made out of metals like steel, iron or aluminum, or temperature and chemically resistant plastic materials. They must be strong, durable and have high impact strength. Safety barriers come in many different shapes and sizes, but are often painted bright colors like yellow, orange and red so they are easy to see.
Types of Safety Barriers
There are two main types of safety barriers that protect against two things: physical injury from workers interacting with dangerous machinery and costly accidents caused by vehicles. Wire guards like fencing and wire mesh barriers prevent unauthorized personnel from entering restricted areas and enclose dangerous automated machinery. Often, these systems have doors with electrical interlocks that shut down when opened. They are usually taller than six feet, easy to set up and installed with a series of posts that are mounted to the floor. The doors may be swing or panel, which is just one aspect of the barrier that a company may customize to suit its own needs. Railings and barricades that keep vehicles like AVGs, forklifts and sweepers from entering certain areas are usually low to the ground and have one or two railings. They are generally made of steel and must withstand high impact. They protect racks and shelving from lift truck damage and have a bolted construction. These guard rails prevent accidents that could ruin equipment, vehicles and products. They also prevent workers from being pinned against the wall by forklifts.
Standards and Specifications for Safety Barriers
By restricting the movement of people and vehicles through controlled spaces, costly and deadly accidents are prevented, ensuring a more safe work environment. All safety barriers must be OSHA inspected and approved before use to guarantee they meet the strict safety standards that are legally enforced.