Roof fall protection is essential for the safety of engineers and workers in commercial centers. When fixing HVAC systems or outdoor units on rooftops, workers face a risk of slipping and falling from the top. Efficient roof fall protection systems ensure their protection in varying rooftop settings. While typical commercial buildings have simpler requirements for fall protection systems, data centers can be tricky to manage. This read will walk you through different fall protection solutions for HVAC systems in data centers. Let’s get started.
What Is Fall Protection?
Before we explore fall protection solutions for data centers, let’s quickly review the concept of fall protection. Fall protection refers to engineered designs and systems that protect personnel from falling from a rooftop (of a building). These systems are designed according to OSHA requirements and offer thorough protection to workers. There are different types of fall protection systems suitable for varying building structures. A fall protection consultant may help you pick the best option based on your needs.
Fall Protection for Data Center HVAC Systems
Data centers contain large and heavy-duty machines to store huge amounts of valuable data. Engineers set up server machines and computers to run flawlessly to ensure the best utilization of stored data. Even the slightest problem can lead to hours of downtime affecting businesses in a particular locality. While data centers look like other commercial buildings, they are designed based on specific requirements.
If you view a data center from the top, you may find large units of HVAC systems to regulate airflow in the building and maintain optimal temperatures (suitable for computers and heavy-duty machines). Since data centers cannot afford any errors while installing fall protection systems, the process becomes tricky. Only fall protection experts know how to establish an efficient fall protection system without impacting the HVAC rooftop unit.
To help you compare your options, we have added the details of different roof fall protection systems below. You can review the details of each and discuss them with your fall protection consultant to decide on the best option.
Crossover Platforms are ideal for data center rooftops with multiple hazardous obstacles. These platforms have an elevated patch in the center with a staircase on each side. Experts install crossover platforms over HVAC pipes and ducts to avoid physical contact when working on the roof for maintenance.
Crossover Platforms are flexible and can be assembled based on a data center’s requirements. They are suitable for any surface, including corrugated steel rooftops, tar and gravel membrane roofs, and any other surface. They are mostly suitable for rooftop settings with excessive HVAC networks. While it may be a decent choice for your data center’s needs, you may consult an expert for practical advice.
Anti-Slip Walkways work well on slippery membranes and standing seam roof structures. They provide an uninterrupted walkway across a building’s roof to protect workers from slipping and falling. Anti-slip walkways also protect your building’s rooftop due to their engineered design. Moreover, you can combine them with crossover platforms for a more dynamic fall protection system.
Data center roofs have extensive networks of HVAC pipes and ducts. Walking between or over them can be dangerous for workers. By assembling anti-slip walkways around control units, workers can easily access different sections of the HVAC unit and perform maintenance tasks as needed. You can ask your contractor to share walkway assembling solutions to pick the best fit for your building.
Self-closing safety gates are highly effective for fall protection where protected access is required. These gates use springs to close automatically after a worker passes them. Closing safety gates using a chain or a bar can be dangerous when standing around the borders of a rooftop. The use of springs eliminates the risk and allows safe maintenance operations.
Safety gates are ideal for maintaining HVAC systems in data centers. They provide safe access to pipes without risking the worker’s protection. The maintenance staff can also use gates as support when leaning forward for maintenance checks. Moreover, you can use them in diverse rooftop settings to ensure roof fall protection.
Safety railings provide fall protection across a rooftop’s perimeter. They are handy for workers working on data center rooftops when carrying out maintenance tasks. Guardrails are ideal for buildings with limited rooftop space. While they can fit into any setting, guardrails can be great for data center roofs where frequent maintenance is needed.
Manufacturers assemble guardrails using slip-on pipes to achieve a sustainable structure. You can get customized guardrails based on your needs. They are cost-efficient and rely on certified components to ensure OSHA compliance. Moreover, you can use them to create closed circuits around sensitive sections of the HVAC systems. Consulting a fall protection expert can help you determine the best fit for your data center.
Sometimes, regular fall protection systems do not serve the needs effectively. In such cases, you can opt for customized platforms. Custom fall protection platforms can be mobile, fixed, catwalk, or adjustable. You can state your preferences to a fall protection manufacturer to get a customized set of platforms.
Custom platforms are ideal for data center roofs. Such facilities have complicated HVAC networks that require careful planning when designing fall protection systems. While valid, custom platforms may cost you more based on the coverage area and used materials. You may schedule a roof inspection with one of the experts to get an estimate.
OSHA Requirements for HVAC Systems
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established guidelines for fall protection systems to ensure the safety of personnel working on building rooftops. To determine the best fall protection solution from the above list for data center HVAC systems, you must first understand the HVAC OSHA requirements.
According to OSHA, HVAC workers exposed to six feet or more falls can be covered by §1926.501(b)(1). According to these regulations, HVAC workers may use conventional fall protection systems, including guardrails, safety nets, or fall-arrest systems, to ensure safety.
The above details highlight the different fall protection systems for data center HVAC units. You can go through the details of each to understand how they differ. If you need thorough guidance on choosing the best fall protection systems, FlexDecks can help you. Contact our experts today to discuss your project.
Truck access platforms are specifically designed from durable and robust materials like high-strength aluminum so that they can be positioned alongside trucks for the manual loading and unloading of the deck.
Many plants and processing facilities often witness fall hazards among their employees. The safety risks in these environments are endless, as the workers are continuously interacting with hazardous chemicals, maintaining vehicles, and loading and unloading truck components.
Choosing the best truck access platforms can help a company increase the safety and productivity of its workers, as well as comply with the regulations stated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
There are many benefits of truck access platforms for the workers as they are kept safe from falling off by protecting them with handrails and self-closing gates. A perforated safety tread can provide maximum grip even in wet and greasy conditions.
What Are Truck Access Platforms?
Truck access platforms are specialized structures that can help workers deal with truckloads, inspection, and manipulating truck operations and components such as cryogenic tanks.
These structures contain accessible stair systems, handrail systems, height-adjusted maintenance platforms and safety enclosures that can provide excellent accessibility and fall prevention for the workers.
To ensure the durability and resistance of these platforms, they are typically made from high-strength materials such as aluminum and steel so that they can provide a long-lasting and stable service to the companies.
In the context of using truck access platforms for chemical plants and facilities, there are several benefits that investing in these durable structures can bring to the company.
Protection From Unnecessary Accidents
Accidents and mishaps are inevitable but highly preventable. If companies are proactive and vigilant about their worker’s safety, they can ensure that fall hazards are properly identified and prevented.
Workers at chemical processing facilities are responsible for moving chemicals in and out via tank trucks. However, there are many risks associated with the loading and unloading hatches of such tanker trucks. If there are no proper maintenance stands, then there is a high chance that workers can slip or fall from the tanker as there is no fall protection in place.
Sometimes a side access ladder is employed for this activity, but even then, the risk of slipping and falling is not eliminated without proper safety tread that is anti-slip and self-draining.
Protection of Truck Components From Contamination
These maintenance platforms are not just important to protect the employees of a facility but also to prevent potential contamination in the tank components. Some chemicals need to be covered and protected from external factors like rain and sunlight, and truck access platforms can help employees ensure that the products retain their quality until they are safely delivered.
Build Workers’ Trust and Improve Productivity
When a company is protective of its worker’s life and health safety, the workers can become more productive without any extra stress. However, when workplace injuries dramatically decrease in a business, the employees may not be willing to risk their life and well-being to complete their jobs.
In this case, truck access platforms can ensure their safety by decreasing the chances of fall injuries and driving the employees to get more work done.
What Purpose Truck Access Platforms Can Achieve?
Truck access platforms are needed for a number of purposes, such as;
Truck Cleaning and Maintenance
Trucks and tanks are sturdy structures that need washing and cleaning regularly so that any potentially hazardous residues are eliminated, thus preventing contamination in the truck components. Truck operators can be made sure that their trucks are in good condition to carry other loads.
Preventative maintenance is essential to eliminate any hazardous gasses and contaminants that can remain in tanks. Truck access platforms can help workers vacuum and pump these gasses and perform other maintenance operations in an efficient manner without any chances of falls or injuries.
Different Truck Access Platforms for Different Purposes
Truck access platforms can be specialized for different load needs. For example, commercial platforms are available for specific areas of industry, such as commercial aviation platforms, food and beverage industries, manufacturing facilities, distribution warehousing, train platforms, and as vehicle access platforms.
What Are Some Different Work Platforms Provided by FlexDecks?
FlexDecks specializes in designing innovative maintenance platforms for different companies whose employees are highly exposed to workplace falls and hazards.
We create maintenance platforms that are different in their styles and needs, such as;
Mobile Work Platforms
These work platforms are portable and allow access to difficult-to-reach areas so that employees can work in a safe and stable environment. With a secure work deck and railing system, the mobile stair system can allow access to places where permanent platforms like ladders or towers are not applicable.
Fixed Access Platforms
Fixed access platforms are constructed according to the specific need of workplaces which require workers to flow at great heights. They are safer and more stable than portable access platforms and ladders so that workers are protected from any chances of slipping and falling from great heights.
Adjustable Work Platforms
These types of platforms are designed keeping in mind the functional needs of an easy-to-move and set-up maintenance platform. These work platforms ensure maximum safety and productivity in many repair and maintenance tasks.
How to Ensure That the Truck Access Platforms Are Safe?
To ensure the safety and guarantee of truck access platforms, make sure that their design and functionality matches the need of a company and its operations.
The nature of transported goods and the safety risks they impose on workers is also an important criterion to consider. Furthermore, inspect the site features and determine what impact they will have on the access platforms and workers’ safety. Companies should also adopt safety measures that can avoid unnecessary risks and improve the productivity of their employees.
FlexDecks is a reliable maintenance stand-providing company, as we believe that responding to clients’ needs with the sturdiest and most durable truck access platforms is the key to our respectable reputation in this industry.
To keep fleets flying, the aviation industry depends on skilled and effective ground maintenance. Any lowering of safety standards puts workers on the ground as well as the aircraft in the air in danger. There is no justification for cutting shortcuts around the hangar just because there is a strict maintenance schedule to enable commercial jet traffic.
Maintenance platforms for aircraft provide a secure, dependable, and adaptable approach to repairing your aircraft, regardless of the type of aircraft your facility maintains. There are many choices and features available for maintenance platforms for airplanes, and they vary depending on the particular needs.
It goes without saying that any skilled mechanic has to be well-equipped with the appropriate tools. A challenge in maintaining airplanes has always been the way they are built differently and the height at which mechanics must operate them. It is crucial to have a repair station that is designed for safety and to suit your aircraft for this reason. An aircraft stand assists in enhancing your aircraft’s maintenance program.
The safest method to work on an airplane is on a maintenance platform. You don’t want anything other than a secure platform with safety rails when operating at great heights and angles. Custom stands and adjustable lifts are just a couple of the choices available to make sure you can work comfortably wherever you need to.
Why are Aircraft Maintenance Platforms Important?
A multitude of procedures are employed in aviation maintenance to maintain the machines in good shape. The aim is to guarantee the aircraft’s effectiveness, dependability, and safety. Component inspection and replacement, system balancing and calibration, and preventative maintenance are all included in maintenance operations.
A complete inspection of both the inside and outside of the aircraft is required for maintenance duties, which are carried out in accordance with a maintenance schedule. To do the task, maintenance employees must be certified and competent. To make sure the aircraft complies with all pertinent safety norms and regulations, they employ specialized tools and equipment.
Higher Level of Efficiency
The best way to stop an airplane from breaking down is to be well-prepared for routine maintenance. Your ground support crew must perform at their highest level in order to be reliable, and this requires using reliable maintenance tools. An airplane repair stand is a crucial piece of equipment in a field where safety measures are taken to the maximum extent possible.
You may completely inspect all components in normally difficult-to-access regions using aircraft work stands. Additionally, aircraft maintenance stands are made to last. These stands are built to last and come with a one-year warranty since we only utilize materials that are manufactured in the United States and are of military-grade strength.
Safety is always a major concern in the aviation industry. To enable simultaneous work from below and above, under-platform lighting illuminates the spaces underneath the aviation platforms. By eliminating the need to install cable around the work area, electrical and compressed air points eliminate possible trip risks.
We have considered several factors to make these aircraft access platforms safer, in addition to utility points. All removable objects are lanyard-tethered to the system, reducing FOD for the staging system as a whole. Additionally, these aircraft are earth bonded, which eliminates harmful static discharges in fuel tanks and hoses as well as static electricity build-up that may interfere with radio and navigational systems.
These systems for aviation maintenance contain extra crucial characteristics that allow for greater user utilization and, thus, higher productivity. There are several applications for sliding fingers on various parts of an aircraft since they individually shape the surface they operate against. The possibilities for work-at-height applications expand even more when this is combined with a height-changeable platform that can be adjusted to a variety of levels.
Types of Aircraft Maintenance Platforms
The aviation industry uses multiple options when it comes to aircraft maintenance platforms, such as the following;
Everyday Maintenance Platforms
Regular maintenance tasks are performed on work platforms known as daily maintenance stands. They have one deck and a ladder or stairs. They may be made to be towed at modest speeds, and they are simple to move and reposition. The finest daily maintenance stands have the adaptability to be utilized for a range of access requirements when it comes to height adjustability and layout of rails and stairs/ladders, and they are frequently employed on different aircraft.
Complete depot-level maintenance on aircraft is carried out on wrap-around maintenance platforms. They are made to interact with the tools and equipment at the different phases of assembly and disassembly and frequently fully encircle the aircraft. However, because they are created for single use, they often offer less flexibility.
These adjustable maintenance stands are the go-to option for rapid maintenance tasks since they are designed to be adaptable and simple to use. While it may occasionally be required to set up a whole wrap-around platform, there are some jobs that may be finished more quickly by employing a few flexible maintenance platforms. They don’t require assembly or disassembly, so they may be used immediately. Additionally, they take up a lot less storage room than certain wrap-around versions that don’t completely disassemble. The good news is, for elevating aircraft technicians, there are many adjustable maintenance platforms that are available, including scissor lifts, and boom and winch lifts.
Forklift Maintenance Platforms
This is one of the more popular options when it comes to aircraft maintenance platforms. The forklift maintenance platform offers a high level of efficiency and a more systematic approach towards aircraft maintenance, making it a must-have at any airport or aircraft maintenance facility. These platforms can also be customized for specific tasks or types of aircraft and are considered to be extremely reliable.
Your maintenance equipment’s functionality depends greatly on how it is designed. Having GSE specifically constructed for your aircraft and facilities is essential for your technicians to perform properly. Pre-made stands may be able to address some fundamental MRO requirements, while other circumstances necessitate the usage of bespoke platforms or a combination of the two. It is crucial to invest in maintenance platforms from providers who ensure that everything is engineered to be exceptionally safe.
Industrial settings, like factories, warehouses, and construction sites, often require indefinite access to at-height structures and areas. Using portable or moving access platforms in such settings may not be safe enough. This is where fixed work platforms can help.
Types of Fixed Work Platforms
Fixed ladders provide access to at-height areas like rooftops, mezzanine floors, and other elevated work platforms. Typically made of steel or aluminum, they are designed to meet specific safety requirements.
Like fixed ladders, permanent stairways also provide safe access to elevated areas. They are generally made of steel, aluminum, or other durable materials and are designed with guardrails, handrails, and non-slip treads to meet specific safety requirements.
Elevated Work Platforms
Industrial facilities often have structures, equipment, and machinery reaching elevated heights. Workers may need permanent access to operate or maintain them. This is where elevated work platforms come into the picture!
Elevated platforms are fixed, stable surfaces designed in various sizes and shapes that allow employees to work at a height safely. They are customized to fit the specific requirements of an industrial site and can be accessed by attached stairs, ladders, or other means.
Access Bridges/ Elevated Walkways
These fixed elevated paths provide safe and secure access between buildings or industrial facilities. They are often used to provide a safe walking surface over hazards like open pits, machinery, conveyors, etc.
Catwalks are narrow elevated walkways that provide access to hard-to-reach equipment or areas. They are suitable for use in manufacturing or processing facilities to access piping, electrical systems, or other equipment.
Overall, the type of permanent or fixed work platforms used at your facility will depend on the specific requirements of your work environment and the type of work being performed. It is crucial to ensure that these platforms are installed and maintained in compliance with OSHA safety regulations and standards.
7 Ways Fixed Working & Access Platforms Increase Productivity and Efficiency
Fixed work platforms provide workers with safe and stable access to elevated, hard-to-reach areas and structures. They allow the workers to easily operate or perform maintenance and repair tasks at heights. Accessing and completing tasks at such heights would be difficult, unsafe, or time-consuming without fixed work platforms.
Fixed work platforms reduce the time and effort required to set up temporary platforms or scaffolding during construction, maintenance, repair, or other processes. Instead of repeatedly climbing up and down ladders or waiting for lifts to access different levels, workers can use these platforms to move between levels quickly.
Fixed work platforms are designed to provide comfortable, ergonomic working conditions, allowing workers to work more efficiently. To be precise, they reduce the physical strain and fatigue that comes with working on unstable or uncomfortable surfaces.
Fixed work platforms are more stable than traditional or portable access platforms. Plus, they are designed with high- guardrails, toe-boards, and other safety features that further reduce the risk of accidents and injuries for workers working at elevated heights.
Built with high-strength material to support the weight of workers and their equipment, these platforms can increase workers’ confidence and reduce the likelihood of delays or disruptions due to safety issues.
Fixed work platforms enable multiple workers to work together on a task. This enhances collaboration between workers, allowing them to complete tasks faster with increased efficiency. For instance, if one worker can hold a heavy object in place, another can attach it to a structure.
Since fixed work platforms provide workers with a more stable and secure surface to work on, they are less likely to get disturbed by the need to maintain their balance or stability. The increased stability and safety allows workers to focus on their work and complete it faster, reducing the chances of errors and increasing productivity and efficiency.
Fixed work platforms are only a one-time investment. Once purchased, they provide numerous benefits like increased speed and efficiency. Such platforms require less staff to operate and mitigate the risk of accidents, thereby reducing the expenses of the business. They are very convenient and safe to use.
Considerations When Getting Fixed Work Platforms Designed & Installed
Are you seeking to install fixed work platforms at your facility? Here are some important factors you must consider.
Consider the heights and locations at which fixed platforms are required at your facility. Ensure that all fixed platforms are located conveniently and safely accessible through stairs, ramps, or other means.
Aesthetics of the Premises
Make sure the finishes like paint, hot dip galvanized, and other anti-corrosive coatings match your fixed work and access platforms to the existing look of your facility.
Durability of such platforms is crucial to ensure the safety of workers at your premises. Ensure that the materials used to build the platforms, like steel, aluminum, and stainless steel, are suitable according to the specific conditions of your facility. You must choose the material and coating carefully if these work platforms are exposed to elements, like corrosive chemical exposure or extra heavy loads.
Integrated Safety Measures
Fixed work platforms often have attached safety measures, like Guardrails, locking mechanisms, handrails, and serrated edges. You must determine what safety measures are required at your facility to ensure complete safety for your workers in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.
Do You Need a Reliable Fixed Access Platforms Provider?
FlexDecks Fixed Access Platforms can fulfill the exact requirements of your specific application. They are flexible, durable, and built to fully comply with OSHA safety standards. You can design and install them to protect your workers from slipping and falling when working at height. FlexDecks can also easily re-engineer the existing platform to meet new requirements and fit a different function.
How custom adjustable work stands & platforms are saving time and money and enhancing the abilities of experienced techs, mechanics, and engineers.
The most successful operations will consider the cost of mission critical equipment failure and implement maintenance and service measures to prevent loss. Yet, every year, more than $650 billion is lost to unplanned downtime. Not all operations are the same, not all losses are due to predictable equipment failure and not all production downtime are recoverable. However, assuming an injury or death was not the cause of the unexpected downtime, operations can typically sustain and recover 2-8 hours of production loss, but few businesses can recoup anything over 24 hours.
How Work Platforms Help
Operations with rolling stock and large machinery that require scheduled preventive maintenance, periodic spot checks, in-line service, and repair, can pose challenges to even the most skilled technician and experienced mechanic. Even simple routines that require a worker to get him or herself and their tools and sometimes diagnostic equipment up and into tight spots can take careful planning and coordination. Furthermore, any activity conducted at a height of just four feet over a shop floor, a lower level or lower object can be nerve-racking and dangerous. When these exercises are conducted frequently or as a necessary aspect of a worker’s duty, this is behavior that can warrant an OSHA violation when a worker is not properly protected.
Benefits to Work
Adjustable or custom work platforms are a quick and economical way to establish safe maintenance workspaces. Currently in use by skilled assembly and service work crews throughout small and large operations, these purpose-built work structures minimize slips and falls, improve visibility, reduce fatigue, save time, reduce confusion. However, adjustable work platforms that feature modular ergonomic designs such as those from FlexDecks, easily adapt to fit the use and when properly outfitted make the work at height safer and in some cases more enjoyable.
Benefits to Operations
The right platform can enhance the abilities of even the most experienced tech, mechanic, or engineer because they can focus on their work rather than avoiding risks and fall hazards. When service and maintenance work can be conducted from a stable working/walking surface the work is more likely to be performed with greater ease, more regularity and be more thorough.
Service and Maintenance operations with work platforms in regular use see these benefits:
• Improved Labor Efficiency
• Lower Start to Finish Maintenance Time
• Reduced Downtime
• Improved Planning and Productivity
• Improved Performance Management
Choosing the Right Platform
Platforms range from lightweight aluminum structures that are easily moved into position when needed or steel platforms that become a more permanent part of operations. Work stands and access ladders can be outfitted with a range of accessories such as work task lighting kits, compressed air, water and electrical service, tool compartments and trays and integrated safety features such as self-closing gates, non-slip tread, safety rail to make work more efficient as well as safer.
To help you evaluate work platform options use the following checklist and become familiar with the OSHA codes that apply to your work at height:
Is it possible to bring the work at height to ground level?
Eliminating or avoiding work at height is always the ideal fall protection solution but it isn’t always practical or possible.
At what height is the work performed?
The work itself must be reviewed closely to understand the allowances workers require to conduct their work.
What are the material & coating requirements?
Platforms can be constructed of aluminum, steel, stainless steel, or even fiberglass to fit the facility and usages. They have different rigidity, weight, and conductive properties and can feature anti-corrosive coatings, may or may not be able to painted or powder coated. Make sure the walking-working surface is designed to meet the maximum intended loads.
Does the platform have special safety or ergonomic features?
Platforms can feature self-closing gates, non-slip treads, removable safety railing, lockable casters, and expandable work decks that form-fit the equipment profile. They should provide a safe means of access and egress to and from walking-working surfaces and be compliant with OSHA Section 1910 Subpart D.
When properly designed and utilized custom, safe, adjustable work platforms help facilitate the necessary checks that ensure business critical equipment stays up and running. When used implemented into operations that specialize in assemble, service and maintenance they accommodate workspace expansion and changes in production. In the best cases, work stands and platforms are more than a safe, stable, walking-working surface, they have been credited with lowering injury and fatigue, adding operational efficiency, and enabling new business growth.
For more information or to discuss your platform needs, connect with the platform engineering team at FlexDecks or to set up an onsite evaluation where an industry expert will walk your site and review your processes to ensure that your crew gets the best possible solution on the market.