Gratings are ubiquitous in public and industrial settings and serve many important functions, not the least of which is safety. They provide security by offering traction in all sorts of industrial environments and all types of conditions. Metal gratings perform the vital task of preventing employee injuries, keeping a company’s personnel safe and saving worker compensation costs. Furthermore, their presence extends far beyond workplaces; gratings are found in many areas frequented by the general public, including walkways, ramps, steps in sports stadiums, and many other locations.
Like any other heavily used metal application, gratings are subject to wear and replacement. Heavy foot traffic wears down gratings a great deal over time, as well as environmental factors such as weather and exposure to corrosive materials. There are a number of important factors to consider when purchasing new grating, whether the purchase is to replace worn down existing structures or for new construction. Every application that needs replacement grating has its own unique requirements for type, size, and quality of grating.
Industrial settings contain catwalks, ladders, tower platforms, and stair treads, all of which require excellent slip resistance and sturdy construction. These heavy traffic areas wear down a great deal over time, and need to be checked periodically. Other high volume industrial areas include work, maintenance, and equipment platforms. Transportation and construction vehicles have high-wear areas as well, including vehicle and truck cab steps. On a related note, trailer ladders & platforms and transportation service areas should always be checked to see if replacement gratings are needed.
The heavy wear of foot traffic extends to residential buildings as well. The gratings on walkways, rooftops, and ramps should be regularly examined for excessive wear. When replacements are needed, each residential and industrial application will require gratings that match their specific environment and function.
Safety Grating: Multiple Factors to Consider
Replacement gratings are required for businesses throughout the industrial, transportation, energy, and architectural industries. When new gratings are needed, the most appropriate products should be carefully chosen from the vast numbers available on the market. Modern construction projects are held to the highest standards. In addition to the best quality, new gratings must be appropriate to the setting, fit properly, and meet all industry and governmental standards. Choosing the best materials and grating design types will ensure strength, longevity, and the highest levels of safety for all who use them.
For gratings that are used in corrosive industrial settings, it is essential to make sure all replacements can meet the challenges posed by their environments. Long term exposure to corrosive chemicals or oxidative conditions can break down and weaken gratings. To minimize the damaging effects of corrosion as much as possible, naturally corrosive-resistant metals should be used when the environment dictates, such as pre-galvanized steel. Other measures can be taken as well, including the application of coatings such as paint, hot dip galvanized, or other anti-corrosive materials.
Wet and Slippery Environments
Gratings can encounter wet and/or slippery conditions in multiple environments. This is especially true when gratings are used for outdoor walking surfaces. Icy, wet, or oily conditions can create a hazardous environment for walking and working. The combination of the elements and heavy foot traffic wear down these gratings even further. In these cases, gratings should be acquired with enhanced anti-slip surfaces. These include serrated edges, debossed holes, and other features to enhance the walking surface of the grating.
Weight of the Grate
Many grating applications require materials that are light in weight. There are a number of material options for creating rigid, strong grating that still keeps the weight low. Aluminum alloys are ideal to create lightweight, corrosion-resistant gratings for a range of applications, including pedestrian platforms in a variety of industrial settings. Aluminum tread gratings are also well known for their non-sparking and rust-proof qualities, along with corrugated angle nosing for the best visibility.
Keeping It Safe for the Public
Gratings are found in many areas that are used by the general public. Gratings in public areas can have heavy foot traffic that wears them down even faster than industrial environments, and need to be checked regularly. When choosing new or replacement gratings for these areas, it’s essential to make sure they have the best grip possible.
Pedestrians (including children, the elderly, and other at-risk individuals) require gratings with surfaces that have maximum grip. Similar to products for wet and slippery industrial environments, public gratings can be made safer with serrated edges and multiple openings.
The Correct Size and Gauge
Gratings come in many different sizes, so it’s important to accurately measure for all new and replacement products. It is important for customers to order the correct width and length to suit the application to maintain the integrity of the structure. The gauge of the metal will also vary according to the requirements of the application.
When ordering gratings, the environment of the metal needs to be taken into consideration. Stronger and smaller gauges should be used for more dangerous and corrosive industrial environments. This will maintain the highest levels of safety while ensuring maximum grating longevity.
Meeting Safety Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is adamant about walking and work surface safety. According to OSHA, slips, trips, and falls make up the majority of industrial accidents. All walking and working surfaces in U.S. facilities are subject to OSHA standards. While many of these standards have to do with clearing scrap and debris from walkways and other surfaces, others have to do with the quality and conditions of the gratings themselves and the applications for which they are used.
There are many different OSHA regulations that apply to ladders, platforms, walkways, and a whole host of other grating applications. These regulations and requirements cover a broad range of specific industries as well, some of which include shipyards, marine terminals, long shoring, and construction. It is exceedingly important for all customers buying new and replacement gratings to ensure that they meet all applicable OSHA requirements. Ensuring all purchased products meet appropriate safety standards is not only a legal requirement; it also helps protect employees and other grating users from possibly serious bodily harm.
Safety Grating Products
Of the many brands and styles of grating available today, three stand out for their ruggedness, quality, and longevity. All three are from Morton Manufacturing and offer an unparalleled level of safety and sturdy construction. These product lines are Open-Grip® Safety Grating, Deck Span® Safety Grating, and Tread-Grip® Safety Grating.
Open-Grip® Safety Grating
Widely used for industrial applications, Open-Grip® gratings feature a round hole debossed design. These are used in settings that require comfortable, safe, and slip-resistant footing on open floors. Open-Grip® products are self-cleaning. They are created using a cold-working process which produces a grating with raised, perforated buttons and debossed holes that measure 1-3/8”. These holes allow for the flow of heat, air, and light. The safety of these products is demonstrated by their circular gripping buttons. They provide top quality slip resistance in all directions while retaining their slip resistance with wear.
Open-Grip® gratings are available in standard channels, walkways, and custom products. A number of options are available for the standard channels. These include pre-galvanized or HRP & O steel in both 13 and 11 gauge thicknesses. 5052-H32 aluminum is also available in a width of .125”. Open-Grip® standard channels come in 10’ or 12’ lengths. Walkways are available in lengths including 119.938” and 143.938”, widths of 24”, 30”, and 36”, and heights of 5”. They come in materials that include HRP and G90, and 11 & 13 gauge thicknesses.
Custom Open-Grip® gratings are available as well. Special features can be incorporated into the product, including interruptions to the grating pattern, end margins, leading edge holes, and wiped ends. The flexible design capabilities of Open-Grip® gratings are readily enhanced by processes such as TIG, MIG, and spot welding. Virtually any customer requirement can be achieved with the variety of custom products and value-added services available.
Deck Span® Safety Grating
Deck Span® grating consists of a diamond configuration surface pattern, which is created by the process of cross-hatching reticulated and formed metal struts. The result is a self-cleaning pattern that allows for the passage of light and waste materials. Deck Span® grating is created in a one-piece construction that is lightweight, self-framing, and able to carry heavy loads. The design is often used inside facilities for catwalks, open flooring, balconies, stair treads, platforms, and walkways. Its slip resistance provides outstanding safety in all directions. The Deck Span® design features a relief hole located at the point of the diamond.
Deck Span® Safety Grating is available in a number of shapes and sizes. Standard channels come in sizes ranging from 4-3/4” long and 2 diamond channels wide to 24” long and 10 diamond channels wide. They also come in pre-galvanized or HRP & O steel and with 14 or 12 gauge thickness. Other materials include .080” and .100” 5052-H32 aluminum and 16 gauge stainless steel 304-2B.
In addition to standard channels, Deck Span® grating is available for walkways and stair treads. Safety grating stair treads have stock sizes that include 24”, 30”, 36”, and 48” lengths. They are available in 14 and 12 gauge pre-galvanized and HRP & O steel, as well as .100” 5052-H32 aluminum.
Tread-Grip® is most often used for indoor applications and over existing flooring. It is manufactured by a cold-forming process, and consists of closely-spaced perforated buttons on its surface. This circular tread pattern provides remarkable longevity and high-adhesive friction, and is suitable for a wide variety of applications. The perforated button design allows this material to retain a larger percent of its original non-slip characteristics over long periods of time, especially when compared to surfaces that employ outside corners for their friction.
There are a number of standard forms available for Tread-Grip® flooring, including standard channels, stair treads, and sheets. Standard channels feature a low open area that prevent debris and tools from falling through, and come in a number of different materials. These include pre-galvanized or HRP & O steel, 13 and 11 gauge steel, and .125” 5052-H32 aluminum. They are available in standard widths of 7”, 10”, and 12”, in lengths of 10’ and 12’, and in custom sizes. Safe load tables and Button-Hole® patterns are available on request.
Tread-Grip® stair treads feature margins on all sides, integral end caps with slots and mounting holes. They are available in 13 and 11 gauge HRP & O or pre-galvanized steel, as well as .125” 5052-H32 aluminum. Sheets come in 11, 12, 13, 14, and 16 gauge HRP & O steel, as well as .125” 5052-H32 aluminum. 304-2B stainless steel sheets are also available in 16-gauge in the chevron or 1-1/4” square patterns. Standard sheets measure 36” wide by 120” long. Other finishes and sizes are available by special order.
The Best Gratings Provide the Best Protection
Many different high quality gratings are available to ensure non-slip surfaces for industrial personnel and the general public. Regular inspections should be made to all existing gratings to ensure they are retaining their strength and traction, especially in heavy traffic areas. When gratings are needed, it is paramount to choose the best-fitting products. They need to both fulfill the traction requirements of the application and all safety standards set by OSHA. The safety gratings described above represent the most rugged, flexible, and long-lasting products available in the industry today.
To learn more about choosing the best replacement gratings for your application, contact our team of professionals directly.