In the June 2019 Forklift Safety insert in Material Handling Network magazine (a comprehensive resource for material handling news), an article, entitled OSHA Compliant Guardrail: Protecting What Matters was published. The article, authored by Wildeck, examined the components of the U.S. Occupation Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems. While the aim of OSHA’s final rule was to align regulation with advancements in technology and best practice, the 513-page document ultimately left those tasked with compliance confused about how to best proceed.


In examining the final rule, Wildeck noted that one of the most important aspects of the new regulation was the requirement that a fall protection system be installed on any walking or working surface that is four feet or higher above a lower level. In bringing their company into compliance with this regulation, many have opted to install guardrail along the exposed ledges. Guardrail installed along the edge of an elevated walking or working surfaces must:

  • Stand 42 inches (plus or minus three inches) above the working or walking surface;
  • Have an intermediate rail located at 21 inches (or about halfway up) the guardrail system;
  • Have screens or mesh installed in between the walking/working surface and the top rail (if an intermediate rail is not used);
  • Be free of components that can cause punctures, scratches or snag clothing;
  • Be able to withstand a 200-pound concentrated load along the top rail and 150-pound concentrated load along the intermediate rail; and
  • Have 3.5-inch toe board installed along the base of the guardrail system if it is protecting a ledge that poses a fall risk (i.e. any instance where a tool or piece of merchandise could fall off the ledge and hit a person or piece of machinery).


Applications for guardrail also extend beyond compliance with OSHA’s fall protection regulations. The ability of what is known as “safety guardrail” to provide a strong physical and visual barrier is just one way in which warehouses and distribution centers have used this type of protective equipment to achieve greater levels of safety within their facilities. Companies that are looking to install safety guardrail in their facility often look to Wildeck’s Wilgard® Steel Guardrail Systems to achieve their goals. Available in three levels of impact resistance (XTra Tough, Medium Toughness and Lighter Toughness), Wildeck’s Wilgard® Steel Guardrail Systems offer a wider range of impact resistance than any other U.S. manufacture.


When bringing your company into compliance with OSHA’s guardrail regulations or industry best practices, it is easy to feel overloaded with information. At Wildeck, our team of guarding experts can help you understand the applicable codes and find the right equipment for your facility’s needs.


If you are interested in learning more about Wildeck’s line of trusted guarding products, contact us at or (800) 325-6939. Our team of solution experts are here to help your facility achieve their safety goals.