Essentially, industrial handrails(or guardrails)act as a barrier. Theyare typically found around the outer edge of a walkway or elevated platform, preventing accidents and making sure that people do not accidentally fall and injure themselves. From a functional point of view, the main purpose of a handrail system ishealth and safety – they influence how safe it is to access a particular area or building. However, an industrial handrail can also improve the aesthetics of an environment and they can have a significant impact on how users interact with their surroundings. A handrail system that is perfect for one setting might be completely unsuitable for another; therefore, when choosing a new industrial handrail, it is incredibly important to consider a number of factors first.
Here we take a look at each of these factors in detail and offer a simple step-by-step guide to choosing the perfect industrial handrail for your construction project or business.
- Consider the Relevant Rules and Regulations
As health and safety is the main purpose of an industrial handrail system, it is no surprise they come hand-in-hand with a number of rules and regulations. They are an essential structure for any unprotected edge – including platforms, walkways, staircases and raised areas – from which a person could potentially fall more than 0.5 metres and, when choosing a new handrail system, it is vital that it meets the necessary criteria. A guardrail should form a protective barrier around all open sides, the distance between two rails (or between the lower rail and the top of an upstand) should be no more than 500mm, and the top of the handrail must be at least 1100mm above the floor.
If you are looking for a new industrial handrail system and you want to make sure it complies with these specific rules and regulations, the best option is to head to a specialist provider – such as Guardrail Engineering Ltd. They offer a fantastic range of handrail systems and all of which are manufactured to comply with the relevant rules and regulations highlighted above.
- Think About Geographic Location and Environment
When choosing a new industrial handrail system, the second factor to consider is the environment in which it will be installed. For example, a guardrail that is intended for an outdoor setting needs to be weather-resistant and capable of withstanding the changeable outdoor elements. If the handrail is to be placed in a particularly humid or dry climate, or if it will be located near large bodies of salt water, a rustproof and corrosion-resistant material – such as stainless steel – will be necessary.
By contrast, when intended for an indoor environment – where weather conditions are irrelevant – a guardrail will be most affected by the volume of footfall and daily traffic. If your new industrial handrail system is intended for a quiet slow-paced area, an aluminium or mild steel construction would be ideal; however, if it is to be placed in a very busy environment, a durable and high-strength stainless steel handrail would be much more suitable for the job.
- Take Long-Term Maintenance of Your Guardrail into Account
The long-term maintenance of a new guardrail is often a factor that is overlooked by site managers and building owners; however, it should be a very important part of the decision-making process.Although they seem to fit the bill (both in terms of their initial cost and functionality), certain guardrail systems require regular attention and ongoing maintenance. Take, for example, mild steel handrail systems. Due to their low-carbon construction, any nicks and scratches will need to be repaired quickly and a long-term maintenance plan – including regular repainting and replacement of the protective coating – is essential. If you have the time and money to sustain this long-term maintenance plan, this might be the right choice for you. But if not, a low-maintenance stainless steel guardrail that can be quickly cleaned with warm water would be a much better option.
- Don’t Forget That All Important Budget
Like most things, cost is an important factor to consider when choosing the right guardrail system for your project. Of course, opting for a cheaper guardrail will save you money initially; however, what about the cost of future cleaning, painting, and upkeep? You may find that the long-term expenses of a guardrail may actually outweigh any original savings; therefore, if you need to stick to a specific budget, it’s important to take both the upfront cost of the handrail and the ongoing cost of its ownership and maintenance into consideration. Upgrading to a higher-quality and more expensive guardrail may actually turn out to be the most cost-effective option.
Need Further Guidance on Handrail Systems?
If you’re choosing an industrial handrail for the first time, it can seem like a bit of a minefield. There are many different factors to consider and getting it right could be the difference between a cost-effective a guardrail that is suitable for the job and aguardrail that is costly and inappropriate for its intended environment. Make sure to do your research before making the final decision and, if you feel like you need further help and guidance, you could always turn to a specialist handrail supplier –such as Guardrail Engineering Ltd.
When it comes to industrial handrail systems, Guardrail demonstrate a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Head over to their website and you will find a plethora of useful information on this topic. Alternatively, if you have any questions about handrail systems or the products they currently offer, you could give them a call on 01902 871208 or send an enquiry using the online contact form. Their team of technical and production staff have many years’ experience in this area; they’re always on hand and they will happily offer tailored advice and guidance on the best handrail systems for you.