Guardrails serve to protect against falls that can seriously injure or even kill, but the amount of protection guardrails provide depends on how they are constructed and maintained.
Most guardrails are built of strong materials and are usually fairly solid when first constructed. However, guardrails are often abused, weakened, broken, and removed without being replaced. Weakened guardrails are sometimes more dangerous than no guardrails at all because they give a false sense of security.
3 Ways to Engage in Guardrail Failure Prevention
- Fix It. If you discover a weakened or missing rail section, upright or toe board, correct the situation if you can.
- Report it. If you can’t immediately correct the situation, report it to someone who can so that the hazard can be eliminated
- Check It. If you bump a rail with material or equipment, check back to see if it is weakened and then fix or report any needed repairs.
You can help keep you and your co-workers safe by getting into the habit of checking guardrails. Finally, use caution when repairing or replacing guardrails, as you are exposed to the very danger that you are trying to protect against.
William Powell III, or Billy as he as known to most, is a Regional Safety Manager for Donley's, Inc.