Health and safety guidance when using mezzanine floors
Following our complete guide to mezzanine flooring, we decided that we should help people stay safe while using mezzanine floors. Therefore, this blog will outline the vital health and safety precautions you should take when using a mezzanine floor and how to get the most out of the floor space in a safe and secure way. Mezzanine floors are commonplace across the UK as a useful storage space for as variety of goods and materials. Often created in spaces with high ceilings or roofs the ability to gain valuable additional stock capacity is one that many businesses are keen to benefit from. However, mezzanine floors do pose a risk to life and not taking the necessary precautions can result in serious injury or fatality.
1. When accessing the floor space, it is strongly advised that you do so with caution and supervision ensuring that your accent and decent are overseen and supported by another person, to provide stability and assistance while you access the floor space. This is especially important if the mezzanine is accessed by ladder which requires a second person to provide stability on the ladder while it is in use and while the mezzanine floor is being accessed. The wearing of safety equipment such as hardhats and gloves to protect against the possibility of falling from the ladder or from material falling from the raised floor is also advised.
2. The mezzanine floor although ideal for storage should not be overload with goods/materials or with too many persons at any time. The maximum load of the floor should be made clear both by the manufactures of the mezzanine floor and by the company/landlord that will be using it in their premises. Warning signs and labels should be placed on and around the Mezzanine floor space to remind users and those within the premises about the risks of the floor and to be aware of those potential hazards.
3. Mezzanine floors are subject to bearing heavy loads often throughout their existence and therefore, must also be subject to regular checks and inspections for damage and weakness. This is to ensure that the structure is still fit for purpose and able to support the loads and strains it is manufactured to support. Failing these inspections could have major consequences including the closing of the floor until repairs can take place or the floor being removed as it is unsafe.
4. Ensuring that the necessary safety measures are in place and being used correctly is a essential part of using mezzanine floors safely. The use of handrails and staying behind protective barriers and safety structures is important particularly when working and standing at height such as on mezzanine floors. These floors increase the risk of accidents and injuries to those on and around them. Always follow the safety advice when using mezzanine floors and do not exceed the limits that the manufactures have placed on the mezzanine floor. Going beyond safety rails and using equipment and processes that the floors are not designed to withstand should not be carried out under any circumstances.
5. In the event of an emergency it is recommended that you are familiar with the required safety regulations and how they are applied to mezzanine floors. For example, in the event of fire and evacuation, being able to leave the mezzanine quickly and safely is critical to allow all individuals to leave the building including from raised platforms such as mezzanine floors. Failure to provide adequate evaluation arrangements for mezzanine floors could be disastrous. Also, if injury occurs on a mezzanine floor the ability to access the floor by emergency services and the moving of the injured is also an important factor to address as part of emergency and health and safety measures.
Following the guidance set out above should provide suitable protections and arrangements to ensure that you use mezzanine floors safely and correctly, minimising the risk while maximising the benefits that raised floors offer.
If you are interested in a mezzanine floor, checkout our website today at Greenoaks Ltd and we would be happy to help.