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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

In the 5 Stages of the Fall Protection Hierarchy, Stage 1 - Hazard Elimination – is the most preferred option. After all, when there is no fall hazard present, no fall can occur. But in the event working near a fall hazard is unavoidable, the next best option is Stage 2 – Fall Prevention. During Fall Prevention, a worker is prevented from accessing the fall hazard by some sort of physical barrier, a job for which guardrails are perfectly suited. With Guardian’s extensive line of guardrail systems, it may seem daunting to design the right solution for your particular situation, but it doesn’t have to be.

Gimme a G! - Rail that is...

For applications that require long runs on flat surfaces (up to 1/12 or 5°), the G-Rail can’t be beat. Fixed-width rails are available in 6’, 8’, 10, and 12’ lengths, and are compatible with all of our baseplates options, including the QuickSet Multi-Directional Baseplate, which allows users to easily create “T” or “X” connections for extreme flexibility. They also work with our Collapsible Guardrail Adaptor, which enables the user to create a folding rail that allows greater access to controlled areas, or in hoist areas where access to incoming material is needed. If simple pass-through access is needed, install our Safety Swing Gate, which can be ordered from 18” - 36” widths. In addition to the fixed-width G-Rail, our modular OMG-Rail offers the ultimate in customization, and can be assembled in lengths from 6’ - 10’ (in 2’ increments). That means no more cut corners or gaps in your guardrail system: with the OMG-Rail, you get the exact length of rail you need – every time. Whichever solution works best for you, remember to always use a Guardrail Outrigger installed perpendicular to the guardrail at each end of a freestanding section for ultimate stability.

What if a freestanding guardrail isn’t an option? Clamp it!

In the event conditions do not allow for a freestanding guardrail, for example if you are working on the top of a building and need edge-to-edge access to the entire roof, a clamp system such as the Parapet Clamp Guardrail System is an excellent option (if you need an integrated anchor point as well, consider the Parapet Anchor). Parapet Clamps allow for ultimate access to work areas by attaching the guardrail system directly to a surrounding low wall, or parapet, versus installing free-standing guardrails on the work surface. Guardrail posts are then attached to the clamps and the guardrail system is completed with the installation of customer-supplied 2x4 boards, or Snap-On Metal Rails. These rails lock on to guardrail posts to eliminate the chance of slippage or detachment.

For jobsites where a parapet is not available, such as mid-floor construction, edge solutions such as the C-Slab Grabber (clamp-on) or our standard Guardrail Receiver (screw-in) attach to the outside edge of the decking, providing an easy-to-install, yet robust guardrail solution. Both of these options also allow the flexibility of using customer-supplied wood or Snap-On Metal Rails.

As might be expected, steeply pitched roofs can present a special challenge, since they often exceed the design specifications or practicality of other guardrail systems. In these cases, our Residential Guardrail System or Friction Fit Bracket offer solutions. The surface-mount Residential Guardrail System is compatible with roof pitches from 6/12 to 12/12, making it an incredibly versatile unit. And if surface-mounting a solution isn’t possible, the Friction Fit Bracket is designed to clamp to the fascia board, allowing the worker unfettered access to the entire roof surface. These pitched-roof options are compatible with their respective guardrail posts, which offer the flexibility of wood or metal rails.

A One-Size-Fits-Most Solution? Yes!

A challenge of designing a guardrail solution is anticipating what types of attachment conditions a jobsite might present. Will there be a parapet, a steeply-pitched roof, an inside or outside corner? Anticipating every potential obstacle has been - and will always be - a challenge during the design phase of fall protection. To overcome this uncertainty, we offer the Guardian Alligator Parapet Roof System. This modular system offers multiple attachment methods, including on parapets, pitched or barrel roofs, flush mounted, and angle or side walls. In short, the Alligator can be almost anything you need it to. Combined with its available adjustable-height guardrail posts (for use with wood or Snap-On Metal Railings), its versatility can’t be matched.

A Few Final Thoughts.

Guardrail systems are an effective and reliable means of preventing access to a fall hazard. If the hazard cannot be eliminated entirely, a guardrail system is the next best thing, and in some cases may obviate entirely the need for additional fall protection. No matter which solution you choose, it is important to read and follow the instructions to ensure that the final installation is OSHA compliant and will provide the highest level of safety for your workers. Install toeboards when necessary, and inspect the guardrail system often (at a minimum each day) to identify and remedy any potential problems.

Guardrails Are #1 for #2! Wait...What Did They Just Say?