Other Safety Features
To Design Or Retrofit Into
Aside from the recently released
OSHA final rule, there are other perennial
features required to meet safety standards
and to make your facility’s roof as safe
Guardrails Around Hatchways
Hatchways on your rooftop require
guardrails on all open sides and an access
gate that automatically closes. This
ensures a worker doesn’t back into an
open hole if the hatchway is left ajar. This
standard applies to ship stairs and existing
hatchways as well, so it’s critical to retrofit
guardrails accordingly if you don’t already
have them in place.
If the idea of puncturing holes into
the roof of your existing facility sounds
unsettling, there are other less “invasive”
options available. For example, some
manufacturers produce guardrail systems
that can be installed at the roof edge or
that use weighted plates to secure the
guardrails rather than drilling them into
If you are designing a parapet along a
new roof’s edge, don’t stop at two or three
feet. Parapets should be at least 39 inches
in height to meet fall protection standards.
Ensuring you have a tall enough parapet is
an easy way to eliminate other safety risks
in the future.
Roof Walkway Pads
Installing walkway pads on a facility’s
roof is a common practice, but it serves
more than one purpose. These rubber mats
designate safe walkways to guide workers
on the roof and keep them a safe distance
from the roof’s edge.
Not only do walkway pads improve
safety, they also can protect the surface
of your roof. The roof membrane has
insulation beneath it that can be worn
down and softened over time due to foot
traffic. Walkway pads can extend the life
of your roof and save you money and
headaches in the future.
Permanent anchorage systems
Roof anchor systems are becoming more
prevalent, especially among more safety-conscious, industry-leading companies.
These systems involve installing permanent
roof anchors at various intervals around
the roof perimeter that are used to connect
lanyards, lifelines and other forms of tie-off to restrain a worker from reaching the
edge of the roof, or,
in the event of a fall,
provide a fall arrest
allows workers to move
freely about the roof
without the risks of
falling because they’re
clipped into a secure
anchor point. Installing
these systems requires
an investment, but
for owners who are
committed to safety for
their plant and workers,
it’s worth the cost.
where piping, electrical
infrastructure are located
can sometimes get
overlooked until engineers or maintenance
workers need to access them. It’s crucial
that these spaces meet safety standards
and aren’t cluttered so that workers can
have a clear exit route in the event of an
emergency like a fire or ammonia leak.
Although these spaces are not normally
occupied work spaces, they are often
designed to meet OSHA standards.
However, they can become cluttered or
neglected once the building is turned
over to the owner. I recommend making a
routine audit of those spaces and ensuring
they’re not being used as a storage
“shortcut” but are kept clean and clear.
Safety is every owner’s responsibility,
both inside and outside a food
manufacturing plant. Rejecting the facility
safety double standard can save you
money and a public relations nightmare —
but more importantly it can save a life.
Phil Hinrichs is the Vice President of Risk
Management at Stellar.
Food safety precautions get a lot of attention
because owners (rightfully) fear product
contamination and highly publicized recalls, but
what about the risks outside your building?
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Midwestern Industries, Inc.
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