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Mezzanine Floor Safety – What You Need To Know About The Law

Feb 12, 2016 | Mezzanine Floors

Updated: 2nd January 2024

Mezzanine floor safety is governed by laws that are essentially concerned with health and safety, fire safety standards and building regulations. How these laws apply to your mezzanine structure will depend on varying factors including such things as the size of the floor and how it will be used. There are several aspects that will need to be planned in detail, so let’s begin by looking at laws and regulations you will need to consider when planning a mezzanine floor installation.

UK Building Regulations

Compliance with UK Building Regulations will help to ensure that your mezzanine floor solution has been designed and constructed to meet specific quality and safety standards. The regulations contain guidelines relating to structural stability in terms of conformity to steel design codes, weight load capacity, fire safety, emergency escape routes, staircase standards, edge protection and disabled access. The size of your mezzanine floor, how it will be used, traffic volume and the surrounding environment are all things that help to determine how the regulations can be applied to your installation. The early involvement of a WSL Technical Expert can help ease confusion around mezzanine floors and UK Building Regulations owing to their in-depth knowledge and close collaboration with Building Control Officers. Our technicians stay informed which means you do too!

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is focused on the duty of employers to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of employees in the workplace. In relation to your mezzanine floor project, a risk assessment is an effective way to highlight any potential risks the installation and use of the floor could carry. You can then address these with solutions such as adequate protection ancillaries for the mezzanine floor as well as safety measures, notices, and training to ensure the mezzanine floor is used safely by employees.

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

This legislation is to ensure employers address basic workplace issues that can affect employee health, safety, and wellbeing. In relation to the mezzanine floor such things as adequate lighting and heating should be considered, as well as ventilation, floor condition and access.

Fire Safety Regulations

Compliance with Fire Safety Regulations is a critical aspect of mezzanine floor safety which is why fire protection, escape routes and appropriate signage must be implemented wherever and however it is deemed necessary by law. These regulations can seem complicated as certain requirements apply to some mezzanines and not others due to variations in size and use mainly which is why at WSL we utilise our relationships with Building Control Officers and Local Councils to help us stay abreast of changes or local requirements, however minor, which helps us to ensure every project is compliant!

Fire rated mezzanine

Steel Design Standards & UKCA

These are important to how your mezzanine floor structure is manufactured in terms of quality and safety. As a fabricator ourselves, we have obtained UKCA certification and manufacture to the EN 1090 Standard to ensure the quality, safety and integrity of every mezzanine floor we design and manufacture. Where the UK specific design code and annexes are stricter (such as with floor sway and lateral loads) we design the floor with these incorporated. In addition, our Full SEMA Membership reflects our continual dedication to ensuring high quality standards and safety levels!

SEMA Accreditation Certificate

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

Often, employees are expected to use specific pieces of equipment to complete their work-based tasks and this legislation is designed to ensure that in doing so, employees are not exposed to unnecessary risks. Under PUWER, employers are responsible for ensuring that workplace equipment is safe to use, and a mezzanine floor will fall under this category.

So now we have learned how the law can influence your mezzanine floor designed, let’s see what considerations are needed to ensure compliance.

Stability and structural integrity

Stability and structural integrity are crucial to ensuring safety and functionality which is why legislation exists to safeguard occupants and prevent structural failure. The legislation outlines specific technical requirements and provides documented guidance; however, knowing how to apply this to your project can become a very complex area, therefore seeking qualified advice at the very early stages of the project is necessary. So, where do you turn to for such qualified knowledge? When sourcing your mezzanine floor from WSL you will have such assurances through your Technical Designer whose wealth of knowledge and experience in building control is supported by the valuable relationships held between themselves and the Building Control Officers they work closely with. So right from the start, your project is on the route to becoming a lawful installation.

Your WSL Technical Designer and Fabrication Engineers will design and manufacture your mezzanine floor solution following the guidance of UK Law using their understanding of:

The type of activities intended for the platform.

From your WSL designer’s point of view, a good understanding of how you intend to use the additional overhead floor space is crucial to ensuring your mezzanine floor is designed to comply with the laws and regulations of the land! For this reason, you will be asked about the type and scale of activities that the mezzanine floor will be expected to support. This information alone will guide the design to a safe weight load capacity, sufficient fire rating, adequate escape routes, suitable edge protection and appropriate staircase specifics. There is specific guidance dedicated to each of these elements which must be followed as the design takes form.

pallet gate

Whether there is a possibility of a future change of use.

A potential change of use can alter the course of the design to ensure the structure will safely support both the immediate requirement and the future use. Elements such as edge protection and floor surface type can be changed to support a new use, however the structures weight load capacity is static which means a heavier use would be unsafe if the design hasn’t incorporated this.

What and who will occupy the mezzanine floor.

In addition to weight load, the focus here is accessibility and edge protection. The regulations guidance on movement between floor levels is very specific to what and/or who needs access. It will influence the type of access and certain details such as dimensions when it comes to stair components or edge protection. Fire safety is also a consideration as people must have access to adequate escape routes and fire rating that provides adequate time for escape. Where goods are being transported between floor levels or managed on the level, the edge and access points must be designed to safeguard people. The use of a pallet gate, for example, will keep the loading area segregated to prevent operators from entering the immediate area when in use whilst ensuring the continuation of edge protection.

retail mezzanine floor

The space surrounding the structure and type of environment.

A mezzanine platform can be implemented in any type of workspace, if allowable by vertical space as the building regulations stipulate minimum headroom heights, however the environment is an important factor when it comes to ensuring a safe and law-abiding design! Precise guidance will vary in accordance with the proportion of the building the floor with cover and whether mezzanine floor will be accessed by members of the public for example, and if children are likely to access the area.

Gym mezzanine floor

This gym mezzanine floor is situated in a children’s fun play area

Maintaining the Safety of your Mezzanine Floor

Now you have a mezzanine floor installation that meets all the safety requirements and official regulations, how can this be maintained? Surely over time the mezzanine floor will receive knocks and small damage, so what actions can you take to conserve its stability and integrity?

To achieve continual compliance with legislations and regulations related to your mezzanine floor, ongoing safety and maintenance is essential. Should damage occur to part of the structure, and it remains unnoticed or unactioned, under PUWER the structure would be deemed unsafe for employee use. There are things you can do to ensure the continual stability and integrity of your mezzanine floor:

  • Use Protection Ancillaries – Column guards are particularly useful in busy, industrial environments where there is the risk of a collision between a forklift truck and a structural column. The steel guards which are often bright in colour for extra visibility are wrapped around the lowest part of the column where they are positioned to protect the column from impact.
  • Conduct annual safety inspections – Professional mezzanine floor inspections carried out every twelve months will detect any safety issues and provide the opportunity to rectify it. In addition, an annual inspection helps to ensure compliance with PUWER
  • Display load notices – A mezzanine floor load notice is a way of ensuring employees have quick access to the structures maximum weight load capacity and is required by the UK industry body covering mezzanine floors, SEMA. The purpose of weight load notices is to prevent accidental overload.

mezzanine floor load notice

Conclusion

Navigating the legal landscape around mezzanine floors is essential for ensuring safety and compliance, however it is not always an easy task. At WSL the laws and regulations of mezzanine floors are something we delve into daily! You can trust our team to design, manufacture and install your safe and compliant mezzanine floor solution. We can even help you to maintain the same level of compliance by providing weight load notices, conducting a professional inspection annually and manufacturing your protection ancillaries! For more advice, call us today on 0113 2045350 or email sales@wslmail.co.uk

 

Sources:

[1] HM Government (2013) The Building Regulations 2010: Structure, Approved Document Part A. 2013 edition [PDF]  [Accessed 14th December 2015].

[2] HM Government (2013) The Building Regulations 2010: Materials and Workmanship 7. 2013 edition [PDF] Available at Accessed 14th December 2015. Page 7.

[3] HM Government (2013) The Building Regulations 2010: Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact, Approved Document Part K. 2013 edition [PDF] Accessed 14th December 2015. Page 23.

[4] HM Government (2006) The Building Regulations 2010: Fire Safety, Approved Document B – Volume 2 – Buildings other than Dwelling Houses. 2006 edition [PDF] Accessed 14th December 2015.

[5] HM Government (2015) The Building Regulations 2010: Access to and Use of Buildings, Approved Document M – Volume 2 – Buildings other than Dwellings 2015 edition [PDF] Accessed 14th December 2015.

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