Before implementing a safety fencing system, these five considerations should be taken into account.
1. Area requiring guarding
The most basic step in selecting a safety fence is determining the size of the area surrounding the hazards that need guarding. Once the dimensions are known, panels and doors can be selected to best fit the area. A large variety of panel widths helps with covering areas of all shapes and sizes most efficiently.
While selecting the panel sizes, it is important to think about where the door(s) will be located. Other configurable door options to consider when designing the system are right or left-hand opening, single or double door, and a suitable handle type.
2. Height of the fencing
Choosing an appropriate fence height is important to prevent injuries that would occur from reaching over the top. The "height of the danger zone" and the "height of the protective structure" are used to determine the required horizontal distance the fence should be from the "danger zone."
3. Operator safety
It is important to plan for the safety conditions required for when operators must enter the guarding system . A common practice to keep operators protected is a safety interlock door handle and push buttons mounted on the post. The signals from these are used to shut down power to potentially hazardous components while operators are in the work cell.
For many fencing systems, the end user is responsible for installing the safety interlock door handle, push buttons, and connector that runs the signals back to the safety controller. To offload this task from the end user, some fences have an option that includes a pre-wired and mounted safety interlock door handle, push buttons, and a connector to run the signals back to the safety controller.
This handy option is popular because of the reduced installation time and overall convenience a pre-wired and pre-mounted solution offers.
4. Ease of install/modularity
Most safety fencing systems are held together with a large number of nuts, bolts, and joining brackets. While simple, the installation of these systems can be tedious and time-consuming. Every single bolt has to be tightened and it can be a pain to keep the corners square. Additionally, if the system has to be expanded or re-arranged, the process of removing the hardware can be daunting.
The panels snap securely in place via quick connect fittings located on the posts. Systems that have a fast and simple connection method can be much easier to work with, especially if the system has to be expanded upon or altered.
5. Robustness and longevity
Guarding systems need to be strong enough to handle unexpected collisions from personnel, carts, and even the occasional forklift. They also need to be able to last in a manufacturing environment without degrading.