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Parks, roads, waterworks, sanitation, transportation, planning, commerce…municipalities have a long list of responsibilities, not the least of which is protecting its public. When it comes to safety, the police, fire, and emergency response departments are considered the first line of defense. Municipalities also have a responsibility that overlaps the boundaries of many of their daily functions.
How do we protect people from fall hazards?
For strength, durability, and regulatory compliance, the first line of fall protection is a metal guardrail .
Safety railing systems provide collective fall protection everyday public areas such as parks, playgrounds, stairways, ramps, waterfronts, pedestrian bridges, and more. They also go behind the to protect municipal employees at water and wastewater treatment plants, maintenance facilities, and loading docks and add protection around in-plant hazards, machinery, and equipment.
Expenditures for materials to build welded railings may seem attractive initially. When adding labour and other installation costs, however, it becomes more expensive than using railing components.
Welded railings have other disadvantages. A welded system is inflexible. Unlike a modular pipe-fitted system, it cannot be reconfigured for changing needs and on-site conditions. Welds can corrode over time, requiring expensive repair work.
Constructing a welded system also takes a trained—possibly certified—welder. Virtually anyone with a hex key can assemble a system using railing components.
There are advantages to both, whether used indoors or outdoors.
A pipe-fitted aluminum safety railing system is corrosion-resistant, ideal for water/wastewater treatment plants and waterfront parks. Although lightweight, aluminum is strong and durable. Aluminum is also considered a more aesthetic design option. Pipe-fitted steel safety railings are economical and can be galvanized for corrosion resistance where needed.
Either aluminum or steel railings can be powder-coated for added protection, complement an existing design, or offer an extra warning level if coated in “safety yellow.”
Not necessarily. To cover a length of 12 feet (3.7 metres), aluminum and steel pipe-fitted railings are also available as safety railing kits in straight or corner configurations. They feature pre-assembled uprights, can be expanded with 6-foot extensions, offer optional toe boards, and can be adapted with ground sockets for concrete installations.
Safety railing kits make sense at loading docks and cordon off restricted areas at maintenance facilities. They also provide a simple and effective barrier in public places, such as a municipal building's transportation pick-up/drop-off spot.
According to the Canadian Survey on Disability, 22% of Canadians—6.2 million people—aged 15 and older have at least one disability. The Accessible Canada Act (ACA), Accessibility Standards Canada (ASC), and Accessible Canada Regulations (ACR) all address the need to enhance accessibility and fall protection for all.
Railings for stairs and ramps should have smooth handrails. A pipe-fitted component-based handrail system uses internal couplings placed in line with pipe railing, internal couplings to form a smooth-rail system, and cradle fittings fixed to uprights to allow the handrail to pass uninterrupted over the fitting.
Coupling and cradle fittings can be integrated into a traditional modular railing system along an access ramp to provide wheelchair access and fall protection.
A municipality must protect the public it serves in many ways, including fall protection for walkways, buildings, facilities, and several other areas. Metal safety railing systems that meet regulatory standards provide strength and corrosion resistance with decades-long durability.
Although welded railings may seem attractive, component-based pipe-fitted railings offer lower installation and lifetime costs, greater flexibility, and a more aesthetic option.
With classrooms, dormitories, dining halls, offices, bookstores, sports and recreational facilities, and the physical plant, a college campus is a community unto itself. An elementary, middle, or high school has all or most of the above under one roof. Whether multiple or multi-use facilities, an educational institution faces many challenges in protecting its students and workers, especially rooftop fall protection.