Safety in the workplace should always be of utmost importance to any business owner. Employing staff members comes with an immense amount of responsibility. Unfortunately, the safety within buildings is often overlooked, as people are afraid of the negative influence it can have on architectural design.
Luckily, adding steel balustrades to your building can ensure you meet all the necessary safety measures for your facility without it being an eyesore. Glow Innovations steel balustrades are designed for both function and form, and you can rest assured knowing you are putting the safety of your employees first. This article covers the top benefits of steel balustrades for improved safety in the workplace, along with the South African balustrade safety regulations. We’ll also cover some other building safety concerns to be aware of in your business.
How do steel balustrades improve safety in the workplace?
According to health and safety statistics, one of the biggest causes of injury in the workplace is related to slipping and falling, or tripping over something. A fall from a raised platform can result in serious injury and needs to be a safety priority. Steel balustrades are one of the best solutions for workplace protection from falls. Any raised area or staircase should be equipped with the necessary railings and balustrades. Steel balustrades can protect the following areas in the workplace:
- Central atriums
- Indoor and outdoor footbridges
- Warehouses with storage levels.
Steel balustrades create a barrier between employees and a space where they can easily fall. They are extremely important in preventing people from tripping over raised platforms or falling from a greater height such as the top of a staircase or balcony. In cases of extreme heights, balustrades can protect people from fatal injuries. Due to the massive role they play in protecting the lives of employees, they should be one of the first safety measures to be prioritised in the workplace.
When designing a balustrade to improve safety in the workplace, its function must not be compromised for aesthetic purposes. Design a balustrade to suit your building aesthetic, but ensure that it is strong, secure and functional. For example, a balustrade near a staircase should be designed in a way that is comfortable to hold onto and easy to grasp. Hand railings and balustrades’ purposes are to provide support to grab onto if you lose your balance and begin to fall.
Benefits of using steel balustrades to improve safety in the workplace:
There are many balustrade options available these days, some have aesthetic benefits, while others have structural benefits. The most popular materials to create balustrades include
In a working environment, balustrading often needs to be stronger than balustrading you would place in a home or private building. This is because businesses and workspaces are often much larger than private dwellings, and have more dangerous areas. The foot traffic is also much higher in the workplace, meaning more people on staircases and walkways who can bump into each other and cause falls. Steel balustrading offers the best protection within a working environment, the following are the top 4 advantages of using steel as your chosen material for balustrading in the workplace:
Durability and strength
Steel is the strongest material choice to create balustrades that are durable and strong. Due to its high tensile strength, it is a much better option than other materials such as wood or glass. With stainless steel balustrades, you can be sure that you are providing lasting protection to your building, by securing it with a balustrade that can take a heavy weight load.
Steel is also a material that is resistant to rust and corrosion. This is extremely important to consider as rust and corrosion can weaken balustrading in certain areas and can even cause it to break over time, or collapse under pressure, leading to a serious injury. Steels’ long-term durability can prevent damages like this from occurring. Steel is weather resistant in extreme climates like harsh sun, snow and rain, making it the perfect choice for outdoor areas you may have in your work building. If it is maintained properly throughout its lifetime, steel can last for a very long time.
Another great benefit of stainless steel is its affordability. It is much cheaper than glass and concrete options. This is great if your business is aiming to save on costs. Saving money on balustrades means you can budget more easily for other safety measures which may need improvement in your business. It is important to constantly maintain and improve all safety precautions in your business to prevent being held accountable for injuries.
Steel balustrades will also save you money in the long run as they are extremely long-lasting. You won’t need to spend money replacing your balustrades any time soon. They don’t require any extra finishes, or periodic painting, keeping your extra costs to a minimum from day one.
Steel balustrades require almost no maintenance when compared to high-maintenance material such as glass. Glass needs to be cleaned often with a variety of cleaning products, whereas stainless steel may just need a wipe-down with a damp cloth. Cleaning is kept minimal, and the low maintenance means you won’t be wasting any time keeping your balustrades clean in the workplace. No need to buy any detergents either. The metal keeps its shape even under harsh environments, and won’t bend and warp over time.
Depending on the type of business you have, you may require balustrading that focuses on aesthetics, or you may only be interested in the structural stability of the balustrades. Either way, steel balustrades improve both safety and protection in the workplace, and can be designed to be aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Because it is such a strong material, detailed designs or patterns added to the balustrading will not lessen its strength.
You can consult with any of our trained and professional staff at Glow Innovations about your design ideas. Let us help you design the perfect balustrade to suit your business. Whether you need something ornate and beautiful, or something that is purely functional and secure, Glow innovations offer a variety of designs for your benefit.
With steel balustrades it’s very easy to customise a design to suit your exact needs and preferences. Steel balustrades are often straightforward and simple to install even in difficult areas and areas that are very risky in your business, making them the first choice for many. Glow innovations offer customised designs and design advice from our team of experienced and qualified professionals. Let us help you create a unique design for your workplace. Drawings and plans can be drawn up by our staff, and samples can be provided to ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for.
Balustrade safety regulations:
Before installing your balustrade in your workplace building, it’s important to ensure you have researched all the necessary safety requirements beforehand. Getting it right from the start can save you extra costs and complications later on. If an injury happens and you have not met the South African safety regulations you can end up in serious trouble.
These regulations are put in place for the safety of your employees and should be followed as accurately as possible. The following are some regulations required by the national specification body South African National Standards (SANS) which set up the rules surrounding safety in construction in South Africa.
Top-mounted balustrades: Must be installed with a core drilling process to keep them secure. The depth of this pocket must be a minimum of 120mm, and it must be secured using a suitable grout that will not shrink.
Side-mounted balustrades: Must be installed with an impact drill for strength and should be secured with the proper chemical anchors.
Residential and public balustrades: The regulations and requirements between balustrades in residential buildings and public buildings may differ. Research the necessary requirements for your specific building in advance, this will help you design and install a balustrade that is professional and safe for your business.
Level changes: If the level changes anywhere in your building that is over 750mm, a balustrade is compulsory. This also applies to staircases that have a rise of more than 750mm. Complying with these requirements will greatly increase the safety of your building.
Pool Areas: This is mainly relevant to residential and public areas with a swimming pool. If your swimming pool can be accessed by the road, it needs to be surrounded by a balustrade that is at least 1.2 metres in height. There should also be a self-closing gate attached, without anything nearby which could make it easy to climb over.
Other safety concerns for business owners:
Protecting your employees from falls and injuries related to tripping where levels change is just the start of creating a safe and comfortable working environment. There are many safety concerns that need to be prioritised in the workplace. The type of hazards you need to worry about is dependent on your specific business. Although, the following are some of the most common safety hazards to be concerned about in the workplace:
Toxins and harmful chemicals: If your business uses harmful chemicals or toxins, these need to be closely monitored at all times. Ensure proper safety equipment is supplied to all staff members, and employees are trained effectively to work with dangerous materials. The ventilation in these types of businesses needs to be monitored closely, this can be monitored with carbon monoxide detectors to keep good air quality within the working environment. Gas leaks can also be concerning, so prioritise regular check-ups and updated safety measures.
Getting hit by objects: It’s very easy for objects to fall if not stacked properly or stored correctly. This can easily harm an employee. Heavy objects can fall from shelves, ladders, or higher floors. Employees need to be aware of this danger and trained to be cautious when storing and moving objects.
Electrical problems: Electrical faults or damaged electric equipment can easily electrocute an employee or cause a fire in the building. This can lead to devastating damages to both your employees and the building. Avoid electrical hazards by employing professionals to perform regular maintenance on your electrical system.
Accidents in a vehicle: Employees who drive trucks or other business vehicles can be at risk of accidents on the road. You need to ensure they are all adequate drivers with valid driver’s licences. Keep track of safe driving with your staff members and make sure they are following all necessary protocols to protect themselves from causing accidents on the road
These health and safety hazards can be avoided when the necessary precautions are put in place. Start with steel balustrading today to protect your employees from harm. Do not hesitate to contact Glow innovations for any more information you need.