Mezzanine flooring is seeing a surge in popularity, with intermediate floors being added to warehouses, factories, retailers and even trendy coffee shops. This growth can be attributed to the cost-efficient way in which mezzanines open up extra space for storage and work operations. They save businesses having to move to bigger premises or rent extra space as they expand or see seasonal spikes in demand; mezzanines are affordable, flexible and quick and simple to put up and take down, as well as move from one place to another. However, we sometimes encounter concern about their safety – people worry about their stability and user-friendliness. This article addresses the topic by answering the question: what are the safety features on mezzanine flooring?
Mezzanines are used in a wide variety of ways; we see them serving as office or retail space, rest areas, extra storage zones, and places where workbenches can be installed as part of warehouse or factory operations. But how can warehouse and other managers ensure the safety of their employees, customers and other people who use the mezzanines? Let’s start with the access route – which is almost always a staircase. This can be equipped with anti-slip surfaces and handrails. Railings can also be installed around the edges of the mezzanine to prevent accidental falls. In this way, it looks a bit like a balcony.
Turning to the materials that make up the mezzanine itself, this is usually high-quality steel, with wood sometimes used too. The steel lends the mezzanine industrial strength; the platforms are sturdy and robust, and able to hold large amounts of weight. They are supported by columns secured to the floor. Some mezzanines are integrated into pallet racking systems, with others also supported by a structure like a wall.
The load capacity of mezzanine flooring often surprises managers; they worry about the platforms collapsing or people falling through. But if either of these scenarios were valid, it would not be possible to market mezzanines as storage facilities. Stock and equipment can be stacked directly onto the mezzanine level itself, or in racks and shelving installed onto the platform. In the interests of safety, the load limits are clearly marked. Should there be any confusion, the mezzanine manufacturer can always be contacted to provide clarification and reassurance.
When it comes to fire prevention measures, mezzanines fall under the protection of the sprinkler systems already installed in the premises, and fire extinguishers can be placed on the platform if this is deemed necessary.
As a final safety measure, mezzanines, like all other storage systems and spaces in the workplace, should be inspected regularly and any damage or issues immediately noted, reported and attended to. It goes without saying that staff should be prevented from using mezzanines in a reckless manner (for example, running up and down the staircase or jumping off the edges). Mezzanines simply need to be installed and maintained professionally, and used as they were intended.
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