Everything You Need to Know about Toeboards Installation and Removal
Toeboards refer to protective barriers placed near the edges or walking surfaces, especially when there’s a risk that objects such as tools could fall off the edge of an elevated surface onto a person or sensitive equipment. They are mostly installed as part of a guardrail system. These barriers help prevent workers from slipping over the edge and prevent struck-by accidents on workers below the raised surface caused by falling objects.
Therefore, consider installing toeboards if any of your tools or items could hit another worker or cause damage if it were to fall off the edge. If there’s no potential hazard for an object falling off the edge, you can only install the standard railing without the toeboard. Read on to learn more about where to install the toeboards and what to consider during installation and removal.
Where Should You Install the Toeboards?
It’s always good practice to mount toeboards around scaffolding, platforms, elevated walkways, runways, ramps, floor openings or holes, and any other unprotected edges at height with a potential risk of objects falling off the edge.
What to Consider When Installing Toeboards
The height of the toeboard is very crucial. If it’s too low, it may not be able to prevent items and tools from falling. You should also avoid allowing too much gap at the bottom to prevent any tools or items from slipping under. A typical toeboard usually has a minimum height of 3.5 inches and the gap at the bottom not more than a quarter of an inch. The strength of the toeboard is essential. Your toeboard should be able to withstand a significant amount of weight applied to it.
How to Mount the Toeboard
There are many ways to mount your toeboards onto a system, such as the railing system. You can weld it, drill and attach with u-bolts, or use special toeboard base flanges and extruded toeboards. Welding proves to be the most labour-intensive option that could also leave a system prone to rust with time.
To avoid leaving entry points for rust, consider using other better methods for the installation. Drilling and attaching the toeboards with u-bolts can be better than welding, but the drill can penetrate into unprotected metal, leaving rust potential. The most recommended option is that of using special toeboard base flanges and extruded toeboards.
Extruded aluminium toeboard is known to be strong and corrosion-resistant since there’s no penetration of metal. The base flange fitting comes with a channel to receive the hardware – special holes for attaching the hardware.
Removing the Toeboards for Maintenance and Repair
You may need to remove the toeboard to allow for repairs or replacement if it’s in poor condition. Whatever the reason, removing the toeboard makes the whole system unsafe, and the area will be unprotected. Ensure to clear the whole area to eliminate any slip or trip hazards and protect the area with a barrier such as a post and chain barrier to warn the workers of the potential fall hazards.
Ensure to post warning signs outside the protected area to alert employees of the danger. You also need to provide proper fall arrest systems for the workers working in and around the fall hazard area when the toeboard and railings are unavailable or unreliable.