As companies look to maximize existing space within their facilities, many are turning to mezzanines to create additional storage space or work areas. In response to this trend, Rite-Hite Barrier Systems has introduced the GateKeeper Mezzanine Safety Gate, a reciprocating barrier that creates a controlled access area in which workers can safely load and unload from the edge of a mezzanine, pick module or other elevated work platform.
While OSHA requires industrial mezzanines to have handrails and gates around all edges, these gates need to be opened during a loading/unloading process, creating the potential for a serious or even fatal injury in the event of an accidental fall. In fact, OSHA reports that falls to a lower level are the second leading cause of workplace fatalities and injuries from those falls result in a median of 15 days away from work.
“Although mezzanines are an effective way to increase space, they also present a potentially hazardous situation when it comes to mezzanine loading and unloading,” says Rite-Hite’s Andy Olson. “The GateKeeper directly addresses this situation, making that process much safer.”
The GateKeeper is designed with a reciprocating barrier which is interconnected and can’t be open at the same time. It is installed on the edge of a mezzanine, pick module or elevated platform where pallet loads from the floor level are regularly deposited for pick-up. When the outer gate opens to allow pallets to enter the mezzanine level, the inner gate automatically closes, keeping workers out. After the pallet is received, the mezzanine-level workers open the inner gate to remove the material from the work zone. During this time, the outer gate is securely in position on the edge of the mezzanine. After loading/unloading is complete, the inner gate is closed to allow the forklift to remove any items in the work zone.
The GateKeeper’s exclusive link bar design ensures that both gates always work in unison, without relying on the chains or cables that are commonly used on other mezzanine gates. The GateKeeper also features a Saf-T-Latch, which prevents a worker from raising the outer gate while inside the work zone. In addition, the unit’s unique “toeboard” design prevents material from accidentally being pushed off of the mezzanine.
An optional automated design operates using a simple open/close/stop button and incorporates photo eyes and current sensing for reversing to further enhance safety. The GateKeeper is made of heavy duty steel and aluminum and is available in multiple sizes. All units feature a guarded three-inch track and nylon rollers with sealed precision bearings, for smooth activation, and a powder-coated frame.