Safe Working at the edge of a Mezzanine
Q: I am reviewing some potential warehouse design plans, and have a Health & Safety concern regarding the distance from the edge of a racking hung mezzanine and the aisle.
The operation is to deliver pallets, using a reach truck to multiple levels of the mezzanine, placing the pallet on the edge of the mezzanine. These will then be unloaded into carton flow lanes for picking.
The question is what is the minimum distance from the edge of the mezzanine to the aisle? I believe for automated aisle (i.e. auto replenished pick locations) it is a minimum of 1.7m, otherwise pallet gates must be used. Is this the same for manually replenished aisles?
A. We do not think that there is any specific guidance available for the situation you describe which seems to revolve around whether it is safe to manually unload a pallet placed upon a mezzanine floor onto carton flow lanes within a fixed distance of the exposed edge.
If this interpretation is correct we think most designers would work on the principal that if it is possible for an operative to approach an edge then they will do this with the inevitable risk. It is necessary to design this risk out of the operation and if this is done by the use of Pallet gates then this would seem to be a satisfactory solution. There may well be other options which achieve the same end of preventing personnel getting themselves into a position where they can hurt themselves in a fall. A specific risk assessment of the operation would seem to be called for.
Auto replenished pick locations tend to be fitted with netting under-guarding or similar materials to make it difficult or very uncomfortable for operators to approach the edge. This would normally be backed up with warning notices and formal training in safe operation of the system. None of this would be appropriate to placing pallets on the edge of a fully decked mezzanine floor.
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