Whether you are working to spend the last bits of your budgeted funds for 2019 or planning for purchases in 2020, it’s that time of year we are finalizing our spending plans. And, when it’s budgeting time, ROI is always top of mind. What is the ROI of a safety gate?
A statistic from the National Safety Council highlights the ROI of safety investments: $1 invested in injury prevention, which includes fall protection, returns between $2 and $6. The NSC has also found that the average cost of workers’ compensation claims for a fall in the workplace is over $42,000.
The key word in that above stat is prevention. Being proactive in safety and equipping each workplace environment in a way to prevent falls and other accidents is always a smart decision, especially if you make an investment into the right equipment instead of using a quick fix. Here are three keys to getting the most ROI out of your safety investment.
Choose the Right Equipment
To maximize the return on your investment, it’s important that you choose the right safety equipment for the application. OSHA mandates that all elevated work platforms of 48 inches and higher be protected, and ANSI recommends guarding platforms at heights of 36 inches or more. Dual-gate systems are the best way to ensure compliance with ANSI and OSHA standards, and there are many models to choose from. Ensuring you have the right design for your specific application will help to increase the ROI of your investment. We’ve created a quick guide to help select the right model, and are always available to discuss specific needs.
Look for Added Efficiencies
Safety equipment like our dual-gate systems can also help make other processes more efficient; this can equate to added ROI for each safety gate. With technology, users can integrate the operation of the safety gate into their systems to track products to each pallet drop area. Safety gate power stations can be wired into a facility’s system so the computers can record when the safety gates were operated. The operational cycles of the safety gate can determine what products have been delivered and processed, and identify areas to be replenished, as well as the time to complete each task. There are a lot of options.
Ensure its Built to Last
Longevity is something to keep in mind when looking for a safety gate for your facility. What may appear to be the cheapest design may end up being the most expensive if the device is always left open or falls apart after a love-tap from the lift truck or bump from an AGV. Look for something well constructed, and talk to people who have installed the gates themselves.
Investments in safety can offer further often unmeasurable ROI as well. Safe facilities regularly equate with happy employees. Knowing there is proper safety equipment in the facility to keep them safe can boost morale of employees, and help to keep them on the job for many years. Visible safety equipment can also help on recruiting employees, especially when they are touring the facility. Retaining employees can be a big cost savings to Human Resources, which provides another lift to the ROI of the safety equipment.
The bottom line is that being proactive with safety is a good investment.
If your facility has pick modules that extend multiple levels, it’s likely there are variety of openings on the elevated levels for picking or for empty pallet/empty tote return bays. Just like the openings on a mezzanine or elevated platform, the areas on a pick module where there is access to the exposed ledge should be secured with dual-gate system. This ensures there is a barrier in place between the picker and the ledge while they are working the pallet, and while the bay is being replenished.
Another major source of fall-related incidents occurs where the empty pallets or empty totes are stacked so they can be removed by the lift truck. These areas should also be secured with a dual-gate system so a barrier is always there to provide fall protection.
There are several dual-gate safety designs available in a rack-supported configuration, but which one is right for you and your application?
Truck or Picking Aisle Must Stay Clear
The original rack-supported dual-gate system was the Rack-Supported Roly gate. This system uses gates that travel in a track system and connected with a chain and sprocket drive system. The gates travel up and down in the track and roll into the pallet drop area. The advantage of this system is that the gates open and close within the confines of the pallet drop area so the gate at the ledge opens and closes flush with the ledge and the rear gate is flush with the rear uprights of the system. Because the gates are flush with the uprights, no part of this safety gate will extend into the truck or picking aisle. The Rack Supported Roly safety gate is often the best solution in a multi-level system so the gates on the lower levels do not interfere with the truck loading the upper levels. Please note, however that a typical upright is only around 48” deep and there needs to be clearances around the 48” deep pallet, so the safety gate is typically designed around 56” deep. This means the rear frame of the safety gate must be permanently positioned behind the upright.
Tall Loads, Fewer Moving Parts
The Rack-Supported Pivot safety gate uses a pivoting framework that utilizes fewer moving parts to provide a safe environment. Because of this, the rear gate pivots back beyond the upright to secure the pallet, then moves out of the way when the ledge gate is closed. This eliminates the need for a permanent structure to be located behind the upright and provides for taller pallet loads. However, by design, this type of gate will extend out into the truck aisle and back into the picking aisle when the gate is operated. With this design, you want to make sure the moving gates will not interfere with the truck aisle, and that there is adequate clearance behind the pallet drop area. Note that the space required for this operation may be an issue if the takeaway conveyor is located right behind the pallet drop area.
Limited Depth on the Platform
If depth on the platform is limited due to the location of the conveyor or a narrow aisle, then your best safety gate solution may be the Rack-Supported Tri-Side gate. This safety system uses a gate that moves straight up and down at the ledge - never extending into the lift truck aisle, and a rear ‘u’-shaped gate that closes to capture the pallet then moves up and out of the way to provide egress behind the area.
All of these Rack Supported safety systems attach directly to the rack-uprights for a solid connection that doesn’t need to be lagged down. They can all be designed to fit the specific rack configuration (upright depth and beam length), and are constructed to match the punching in the rack for an easy, secure connection that doesn’t require any drilling into the rack components. They can be designed in multiple pallet widths or depths, and can accommodate pallet flow lanes. Manual operation is standard, but power operation can be added for remote operations from the lower levels or lift truck.