To ensure effective mezzanine floor safety, it’s vital to carry out thorough risk assessments, both for the mezzanine floor itself and the area beneath and surrounding it. A mezzanine floor risk assessment should consider the likely consequences of common accidents, such as trips and slips, and more serious incidents, such as the floor supports being struck by a fork lift or delivery vehicle.
Preventing trips and slips can be down to the choice of floor covering, the provision of handrails, ensuring walkways are not obstructed and that all areas are adequately lit. In these examples, the floor surface may be slippery because it’s been chosen for its durability or ease of moving materials, in which case employees should be asked to take precautions by wearing suitable non-slip footwear.
Obstructions could be cable runs across walkways or furniture that encroaches into walkways. The cables and furniture should be repositioned wherever possible to reduce the chance of tripping over; if cables can’t be moved, they can be covered by cable floor protectors. Some are available with hi-viz panels, providing an extra safety feature.
Working at height on a mezzanine floor should be avoided wherever possible, but where it’s unavoidable, the operation should be planned in advance to minimise risk and be supervised. A colleague should be present to warn the person working at height about any hazards they may not be able to see, and to fetch help should the worst happen and the person falls.
On a mezzanine floor everyone is effectively working at height, so your installation must have handrails to protect them wherever necessary and should also have edge protection and/or mesh panels to stop dislodged objects falling on those below. We will advise on how and where these elements should be incorporated, at the design stage.
If you are using your mezzanine floor for storage, archiving, manufacturing or any other purpose where your employees are handling large and heavy objects, then they are just as much at risk of injury as those working at ground level. Manual handling injuries are all too common, and can often be avoided by training employees to lift and carry correctly, by finding ways to reduce the size and weights of objects moved manually or by bringing in equipment to carry out the task instead.
Less common but more serious accidents, such as vehicle damage to the mezzanine floor’s supporting pillars or overloading the floor itself, should be avoided by providing training and safety notices, and having safety inspectors who ensure the regulations are being observed. Any damage must be reported to the appropriate persons immediately, and the area evacuated or restricted until properly repaired.