If you are selling material handling equipment, it’s likely you’ve been busy, as the industry is rapidly changing – new applications and processes to increase productivity and storage often means new equipment is needed. There is an opportunity you may have overlooked; safety equipment.
Look up and around. Are there elevated pallet drop areas, and if so, are they secure? Pick modules often feature areas for pallets and picking; employees need fall protection and OSHA regulations stipulate protection at 4 feet or higher. If you notice risks. educate your customer about the danger, and if you can also sell them safety equipment that will protect their employees. It’s a win win situation.
Sound good? Here are four tips to get you started in selling fall protection equipment.
- Start at the Loading Dock
Loading docks are often the busiest place in a facility, and they pose a number of safety hazards. It’s important to have the right guarding to protect the building and other vehicles and structures in the area. Loading docks also feature many elevated areas with ledges, and if exposed put employees at risk for falls.
The area where the truck backs up to the loading dock to unload material must be protected when no truck is in place. Loading dock safety gates should be used to protect workers from falls. A safety gate that automatically closes when the truck leaves is one way to ensure workers will not fall from the dock.
Dock-lifts used to move material in the loading dock area also provide risks for falls when employees ride them with material. Dock-lifts can be used by employees to move material at ground level, between the trucks and loading docks. Safety gates for these lifts should feature automatically closing gates, which ensures fall protection for any worker on the lift. As the lift elevates, the gates automatically close and lock into place. The gates stay closed and locked until the lift goes back to ground level, providing fall protection while the lift is raised and material is moved from the lift, truck and dock. They can be made in multiple configurations, depending on the dock operations.
- Look Up
Material handling facilities often feature elevated pallet drop areas throughout the building. OSHA and ANSI fall protection standards mandate that a barrier be in place at all times during the operation, even while pallets are being loaded, staged or worked on. This includes areas within pick modules. The best method for meeting this safety requirement is a dual-gate system that is configured so when one gate is open the opposite gate is closed. Dual-gate systems come in many different designs; some are designed for specific applications, so make sure to determine which design will work best for the environment.
- Flow Lanes
Is there a pick module in the facility? Pick modules often feature pallet flow applications. While employees are not to walk on the lanes, it happens. Employees do walk into lanes, which poses risk for falls from the upper levels and injuries if pallet loads being pushed into the legs of employees. To secure the flow lanes, self-closing gates designed for flow systems and dual-gate safety systems can create a safe environment. In pallet flow applications, without safety gates, employees are at risk from falling from the upper levels as well as pallet loads being pushed into the legs of employees when they are working in the lane.
- Power & Technology
While automation is top of mind in most material handling facilities, incorporating technology with safety equipment is not always top of mind. In fact, manual operation of our safety gates used to be our first recommendation, and it is still a very popular and viable option. We also recognize that power operation and complementary technologies for safety equipment is often needed for automated applications and processes. While many facilities are undergoing changes to include automated processes, safety of employees is still of utmost importance.
There are many different ways to configure power and technology, from push button stations to remote control operations. Whether you are retrofitting power to existing safety gates or planning, any technology used for safety gates must be designed in a fashion to help companies speed their operations, especially those that incorporate AGVs and lift trucks, without compromising safety.
One more overall point to keep in mind when selling fall protection solutions is that no facility or application is the same. There is no one solution that will work in every situation, so keep in mind that there are multiple designs and custom safety equipment is available. Happy selling!
Aaron Conway is President of Mezzanine Safeti-Gates, Inc. For more information on the company’s Dealer Program, email sales@MezzGate.com.