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Innovative walkway designs that improve safety

 

When it comes to plant design and maintenance, ensuring your equipment is in working order is vital. Equally as vital is the support structures around your crushing and screening plant. Have you given much thought to making your metal walkways as safe as possible?

Metal walkway gratings are versatile and dependable flooring options. Their unique design, durability and the many safety features incorporated into them by skilled manufacturers keeps employees safe and work moving at the right pace.

There are plenty of reasons why businesses turn to metal walkway grating when designing new facilities and renovating old ones. Air circulation, resistance to corrosion, sure footing for workers and other benefits are all possible with the right type of grating. Of course, unique aesthetic benefits can also come into play in a variety of ways. Consider these potential uses as you seek out effective flooring for your project.

ACCESSING RAISED SURFACES, EQUIPMENT, MACHINERY

Warehouses, factories and similar facilities frequently have multiple levels where employees have to travel to complete their duties. While standard staircases and partial flooring can fulfil basic requirements for access, metal walkway gratings are especially effective. Consider these safety-focused benefits:

• A metal walkway grating designed for industrial use includes a substantial emphasis on safety. Cleats in the metal offer increased slip resistance.

• A serrated profile surface for increased traction and employee safety that is especially effective in wet conditions. It is also useful in areas where the grating slopes.

• Kickplating, which can prevent objects that land near the edge of the walkway grating from falling to areas below the elevated surface.

• Mesh underneath the grating is an effective option for catching objects small enough to fall through the grating, resulting in a similar advantage.

These safety benefits are relevant whether the metal walkway gratings are used slightly above ground level or many storeys in the air inside a large warehouse or production plant.

PROTECTING AGAINST RUST, CORROSION

Industrial facilities may regularly utilise harsh chemicals that could discolour, weaken or otherwise damage standard flooring. That’s especially true if the chemicals pool in a specific area and aren’t quickly cleaned up. Water and moisture do not have as much potential for short-term danger in terms of corrosion and damage but can negatively impact a walkway or flooring over time. This is another area where metal walkway gratings, specifically those made of stainless steel, excel.

Because stainless steel and its variants are specifically designed to resist corrosion, a stainless steel walkway grating can increase longevity and improve safety in areas where chemical spills cannot always be avoided. And in places where exposure to moisture – whether within a facility or outdoors – is inevitable, stainless steel provides a similar benefit. There are other options for corrosion resistant walkway gratings as well, including anodised aluminium.

INCREASING VISIBILITY, CIRCULATION

Another key aspect to keep in mind when using metal gratings on elevated surfaces is light and visibility. Solid platforms and staircases limit light flow from the top of the building and may require the placement of additional fixtures to provide a safe level of visibility, depending on the circumstances. Metal grating allows more light to shine through and provide more even coverage to the areas below.

Similarly, airflow can be a concern in many structures. Metal grating allows HVAC systems and fans to work more efficiently, providing gaps where air can flow freely.

These benefits are broadly applicable. In industrial contexts, a certain level of light and airflow may be required for employees to safely go about their work and produce high quality results. In commercial structures, the advantages may have more to do with aesthetics than safety rules and regulations. Metal walkway grating is versatile enough to support specific goals across a wide range of building types and uses.

CREATING AN ENGAGING ATMOSPHERE

Metal walkway grating is traditionally seen in areas where safety and durability is a major concern, namely industrial spaces like warehouses and factories. This view makes plenty of sense but overlooks what metal grating can do in other applications where design and visual identity are important and special safety needs often aren’t present.

Utilising a metal walkway, ramp or staircase in a commercial building like a shopping centre or office complex can
help create a more memorable environment with a simple design change. Versatility in terms of choosing finishes for the walkway grating and painting the surrounding handrail and support system can help
create the best visual appearance for
the setting.

FINDING A DEPENDABLE PROVIDER

The quality of metal walkway grating is deeply tied to the skill and experience of the manufacturer that produces it. A skilled supplier provides consistent results that you can count on, which is vital whether your choice of metal walkway grating is based on aesthetic qualities or a need to emphasise workplace safety.

Webforge, part of the Valmont group, has the skill, knowledge and production capacity to provide the highest quality metal walkway grating for any project.

SAFER ACCESS ON WALKWAYS, RAMPS

Webforge grating is used for walkways, platforms and stairways, providing safe access solutions in any industry.

In accordance with Australian Standard AS1657, walkways with an incline of 10 degrees or more must utilise cleats for increased slip resistance. 

Webforge can supply 10mm square pre-welded cleats at prescribed intervals to suit the specific application. A variety of anti-slip nosing options are also available for stair treads, suitable for walkway and ramp applications.

The serrated profile surface is another option to consider for improved slip resistance on sloping or wet areas. 

Webforge grating profiles are available in plain or serrated surface patterns. The choice of grating material is dependent on the environmental conditions of the application. For example, the potential for corrosion and level of exposure to water will influence
the decision. 

When specifying walkways and ramps, load bars can span either across or along the flow of traffic, depending upon support orientations. Typical panel lengths of up to 5.8m maximum can potentially provide significant savings.

Webforge can work with quarry producers to achieve the best result for their projects, including on outline drawings, panel sizes (if rectangular or square), banding requirements, span direction and finish.

BENEFITS OF STAINLESS STEEL GRATES

Stainless steel grates are an indispensable component of constructing safe and functional industrial facilities. When appropriately designed and installed, these reliable support surfaces help workers consistently complete their duties and mitigate the possibility of accidents on the job. Long life spans, the ability to support a range of activities based on the specific configuration of the grate and other benefits combine to make stainless steel grates a strong choice for industrial and commercial facilities across the modern economy.

Learning more about the specific benefits of stainless steel can help quarry producers make the most informed decision possible for your project and organisation. There are four key reasons why stainless steel grates are so beneficial to the businesses that utilise them.

1. STRENGTH

Steel’s strength is a core property recognised in a variety of design and construction contexts, from a skyscraper or industrial facility’s columns and girders to its widespread use as grating. It has a high tensile strength compared to many other metals, meaning it can withstand heavy weight and pressure before starting to stretch out and deform. This is especially important for elevated walkways, staircases, mezzanines and similar structures, where the steel and the structure it is attached to are the only things keeping employees safely working at heights.

Steel and its many variations have different strength ratings depending on the specific composition of the final product. Stainless steel is strong enough to support a variety of industrial applications and comes with other benefits that make it a leading choice among the many options offered. Along with strength, businesses should also keep corrosion resistance in mind.

2. CORROSION RESISTANCE

Basic steel is an alloy comprised of iron and carbon to create a stronger, more durable metal than iron is by itself. Stainless steel is an alloy made by taking the basic formula for steel and incorporating other elements like chromium and, sometimes molybdenum, to improve corrosion resistance. Basic steel can suffer significant corrosion over time when it is regularly exposed to air and moisture. This results in cosmetic issues, namely rusting, and safety issues over time. As rust flakes away, the underlying steel will begin to rust. Ultimately, the steel will lose its structural integrity and pose a major safety issue for those who walk on it, carry out tasks near machinery made of it or work in buildings where steel components are exposed to air and moisture.

Stainless steel, in contrast, will develop a thin film in response to the onset of corrosion that prevents the spread of rust. The resistance to corrosion offered by stainless steel is what sets it apart from the many other varieties currently manufactured. The ability to resist rust and maintain its integrity helps stainless steel last longer and continue functioning safely in its intended role. A variety of stainless steel alloys are available to address different conditions present in a variety of facilities.

Corrosion resistance is especially important for stainless steel grating because of the many types of environments the material may be exposed to in an industrial workplace. Even in climate controlled facilities, ambient moisture content and the presence of oxygen can eventually lead to rusting and the issues that come along with it. With stainless steel’s corrosion resistance and its underlying strength, quarry producers can be far more confident in the reliability of the grating.

The walkway meets the requirements of Australian Standard ANZ 1657.

3. RESISTANCE TO FIRE, HEAT

Stainless steel’s overall reputation for dependability is tied to its strong performance in the face of adverse conditions. Along with its ability to remain functional in conditions that would corrode other types of steel, it also stands up well to other adverse events such as impacts, excess heat and fire. While every well managed organisation takes careful steps to avoid accidents, an unpredictable series of events can lead to an emergency. Stainless steel grating that resists the damage caused by heat and fire can avoid further damage in these situations.

In less catastrophic circumstances, resistance to heat can help stainless steel, especially protective barriers. Walkways too remain more durable in industrial conditions where high heat is an unavoidable element of operations. This helps improve safety considerations and reduces the costs associated with repair and replacement.

4. CUSTOM-MADE

A dependable and safe material only becomes useful when it can be consistently fabricated and installed in a way that meets the unique needs of a variety of different facilities. Stainless steel is broadly customisable, both in terms of the specific content of the alloy and the ways in which it can be manufactured. While there are recommendations and rules set by the International Organisation for Standardisation, Standards Australia and similar national rules authorities in terms of how to construct steel grating with safety in mind, many other elements of steel grating are easily changed to align with specific design requirements and the layout of a facility.

Whether it’s a need to retrofit an existing building or address a unique layout and the needs of a specific industry, stainless steel gratings can be made to order for a perfect fit in nearly every situation. No matter the specifics, stainless steel can support a producer’s operations with both pre-made panels and bespoke pieces.

Finding the right provider to supply a project is crucial when it comes to stainless steel grating. A dependable partner can help a producer work through the entire process, from selecting the right existing panel option – or crafting custom elements from scratch – to producing and transporting it to the existing facility or construction site.

Webforge can help organisations select all of the necessary elements and associated hardware, from choosing the right slip resistance features to ensuring the most effective fixing clips are provided to help secure the grating.

Source: Webforge, a Valmont company