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mezzanine safety gate in a retail store shelving system

National Retail Chain Provide Fall Protection for Store Employees with Pallet Drop Safety Gates

A nation wide retail chain was looking to make its supported shelving systems safer for employees. Each retail location features a product storage system that includes elevated pallet drop areas in order to fulfill one of its top business goals - to have the product available when customers came to the store in need of the supplies. Thus, the shelving systems are usually packed to ensure customers do not leave empty-handed.

Safety gates and other protective guarding had been considered a space waster. However, corporate management knew that fall protection was important for employees health and well-being, and to ensure compliance with OSHA walking working surfaces regulations. Management set out to find a safety solution that would work in all its stores across the United States.

Each store has its own unique shelving system, but most often employees pick from shelf to shelf. Most stores used sliding or swinging gates that relied on employees to move them in and out of place. But, because the shelves and system were constantly being picked from and replenished the gates were often left open, which was a fall hazard and OSHA violation.

While the stores had some of their own unique requirements, height was limited in the majority of the systems, and room on the sides was scare due to the shelving, so the safety system would need to fit into tight spaces. In addition, the company required any safety gates to close flush with the deck and include 4 inch kick plates.

After researching safety gate options, the retail chain management chose Mezzanine Safeti-Gates to provide safety gate systems for each store.

Mezzanine Safeti-Gates worked closely with corporate management and the individual store managers to ensure the safety gate model would be a seamless fit within each store’s shelving system configuration. Measurements were taken in each store location and specific recommendations were made for each store environment, which included custom engineering to design safety gates to fit within each system.

The Roly® safety gate was the ideal model for most of the store locations. The original dual-gate safety system provides an enclosed workstation for employees picking from pallets. When the ledge gate is up for the pallet area to be replenished, the rear-gate is down, preventing employees from accessing the ledge. When the area is ready to be picked, the ledge gate closes and the rear gate opens, providing access to the material in the pallet drop area. Many of the Roly safety gates that were installed required custom dimensions to fit within the supported shelving system.

Some store locations had shelving configurations that required employees to pick from the sides of the pallet, and in those cases, a Tri-Side safety gate model was installed. When open, the U-shaped rear gate allows for easy access to three sides of the pallet while the ledge side gate is closed, preventing falls.

In stores with very tall loads in their pallet drop area, two different models were offered. First, an Open Top safety gate model offers fall protection at the ledges of pallet drop areas without using overhead mechanics. In other stores, High Pallet Pivot gates were used in stores to accommodate pallet loads up to 80 inches tall within the pivoting safety gate design.

While most safety gates were purchased with manual operation, some stores chose to add power operation to their gates. In addition, some locations opted to include product containment netting on the ledge gate to ensure loose products would not fall from the pallet drop area.

To date, pallet drop safety gates have been installed in over 150 store locations in 20 states including Hawaii and Alaska, and the project is ongoing. Corporate and store managers have been very happy with the pallet drop safety gates, as well as the attention to detail and variety of options that Mezzanine Safeti-Gates provided to ensure fall protection for their employees nationwide.