Case study

What is a mezzanine pallet gate and do I need one?

Often, a mezzanine floor installation within a commercial or industrial setting will feature a pallet gate and sometimes more than one. Situated in an ideal location somewhere along the edge of the platform, a mezzanine pallet gate will form part of the edge protection component of the upper level whilst providing a secure opening for pallet placement at the same time.

What is the purpose of a pallet gate?

The mezzanine pallet gate performs two important roles at the same time:

  1. Enables the transportation of pallets to and from the mezzanine level
  2. Provides continual edge protection, even when the gate is in use

In short, a pallet gate means that despite the varying floor elevations processes can be streamlined and that pallets can be accepted onto the mezzanine floor level easily and more importantly, safely.

Standard up and over pallet gate (1)

How does a pallet gate work?

From the ground floor below, a fork lift truck (FLT) will lift a pallet to the mezzanine level and place it onto the platform, and whilst doing so the area remains secure. The shape and configuration of the mezzanine pallet gate means that whilst there must be an opening to place a pallet, there is no interruption to the protective railing system which runs along the exposed edge. Where the opening is created, the rails divert around the pallet to close off the side and back end, before continuing on along the mezzanine floor edge. There are slight variances in different pallet gate types, however all function in a similar fashion and none are complicated to operate:

The standard up and over pallet gate – This is the simplest and most commonly used pallet gate. The operator simply pulls the gate down to open the loading area and pushes it up to close it as demonstrated in the video below:

The concertina pallet gate–Ideal if more pallet headroom is required! As the outer frame moves closer to the top, the connecting braces will gradually incline and this enables the bars to compress therefore maximising the space between the top of the pallet and the frame above it. The gate moves when the operator pulls the attached chain, as demonstrated in this video:

What are the benefits of using a mezzanine pallet gate?

As already mentioned, the pallet gate makes the transferring of pallets between varying levels smooth and safe. Other ways a pallet gate can benefit your operation include:

  • Minimised risk of being injured during the process of placing or picking the pallet as the gate forms a safety barrier to prevent entry to the pallet loading area during use.
  • Fall prevention as the gate secures the mezzanine edge whether the gate is open or closed.
  • Easy to operate with minimal maintenance required
  • Very affordable in comparison to a goods lift, yet its notably robust and sustainable

Whilst you could opt for removable chains and swing gates the continuous protection is lost with these once opened, whereas the pallet gate prevents any exposure to the edge whether in use or not. Forgetting to close a swing gate after use will leave the edge exposed and the mezzanine platform unsafe whereas the pallet gate is designed to eliminate this risk.

Are pallet gates compliant with current regulations?

The Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 often abbreviated to PUWER state that business owners and employers have a legal duty to ensure the safety of workplace equipment. As the mezzanine floor is an upper level platform used by employees, the edge must be protected at all times and the pallet gate installation ensures this even when an opening is required for the loading of goods onto the platform.

Would a pallet gate be suitable to my pallet sizes?

Pallet gates can be designed to meet your needs, space and the characteristics of the pallets, so there is no danger of being unable to implement a suitable pallet gate application. Once the height, width and depth of your pallets have been confirmed, WSL can design and manufacture your pallet gate to accommodate those dimensions.

Open concerinal pallet gate

Can a pallet gate be installed on an existing mezzanine floor?

A pallet gate can be added to an existing mezzanine floor however such a modification would require a professional consultation, design and installation to ensure the following:

  • The mezzanine structure can support the additional weight load and force of a pallet gate installation
  • The existing mezzanine incorporates sufficient clearance and access for a pallet gate installation
  • The right pallet gate size and orientation for the space and pallet characteristics

Altering an existing mezzanine floor through a pallet gate installation would require the assistance of a professional engineer will ensure the safety and feasibility of the installation.

What material is used to manufacture a pallet gate?

For a pallet gate to sustain under the demands of its designated role, it must comprise of sturdy, robust material. At WSL, our pallet gates are made up of steel sections welded together to create a frame that offers solidity, allowing it to withstand the forces associated with its use.

Can a pallet gate be customised?

Whilst a standard pallet gate can be seen as a default application which can be sourced having been pre-manufactured, at WSL we also offer a customised option where the, size, orientation and colour are specifically incorporated. We can design and manufacture a pallet gate for your operation so you can be sure of its ability to meet the needs of your pallets, operation and space whilst ensuring integrity, stability and durability.

Standard up and over pallet gate (2)

Is a mezzanine pallet gate easy to install?

In comparison to larger and more complex builds the mezzanine pallet gate could be seen as a relatively easy installation, however a professional installation is advisable so you can be sure that:

  • Preparation work has been carried out to ensure the mezzanine floor is structurally safe prior to the installation.
  • The pallet gate is correctly positioned and appropriately aligned to ensure no obstructions whilst loading pallets onto the upper floor from below.
  • The gate is securely fixed to the floor using the right tools, accessories and methods to prevent the risk of movement and weakening.
  • Tests have been carried out to ensure that any required adjustments can be detected and carried out before the gate goes into full operational use.

When sourcing your pallet gate from WSL our professional installation team will fit the gate onto your mezzanine floor for you, so you can be sure of a quality installation.

Do pallet gates require maintenance?

A mezzanine pallet gate is a vital piece of workplace equipment for which proper function and continual safety must be maintained. Here are a number of things you can do to ensure this is achieved:

  • Regular cleaning – Incorporating a simple wipe down of the pallet gate at regular intervals as part of the overall cleaning routine will help to prevent hindrances to the gates performance caused by a build up of dust and dirt.
  • Use lubricant on moving parts – Over time, moving parts and mechanisms can suffer from friction and this can hinder performance. Periodic lubrication in these areas will help to prevent rust and corrosion and ultimately lack of sufficient movement.
  • Ensure regulars safety inspections – It is advisable that your mezzanine floor undergoes safety inspections on a yearly basis and as the pallet gate forms part of the mezzanine floor structure; this will be included in the inspection. Any issues relating to the integrity or safety of the pallet gate will be noted and action can be taken to rectify the issue before it worsens or causes a serious incident.
  • Never delay repair works–The longer identified issues are left unattended, the more safety is further compromised which is why prompt action is necessary when a need for repair has been identified.
  • Ensure operators are fully trained – When using the pallet gate without adequate training and a full comprehension of the potential dangers associated with it, there is an increased risk of a serious incident. With training and awareness, the gate can be operated correctly and with more caution which will reduce the risk of accidental injury or damage.

What are the specific safety features of a pallet gate?

Pallet gates incorporate numerous safety features that are designed to protect operators working with or near the equipment. These include:

  • A rail which prevents access to the immediate area surrounding the pallet
  • The integration of the pallet gate rails with the rails that form the rest of the platforms edge protection which ensures no gaps or exposed edges anywhere on the platform.
  • Ease of use as the gate can be raised or lowered without physical strain
  • Having been powder coated in a contrasting colour, most commonly yellow, the pallet gate is highly visible, even from below the mezzanine where the FLT operator loads the pallets.
  • Damage prevention through a fitted wear plate which is piece of durbar plate that covers the floor area where the pallet sits. Due to pallets not being placed correctly 100% of the time the plate continues from the mezzanine surface and folds round the frontal edge to protect the plastisol facia board / fire rating.

Closed concertina pallet gate

Which industries use pallet gates?

Pallet gates can be a feature on any mezzanine floor where there is a need to transfer material from level to level. Such industries include:

  • Warehousing– If there is an environment where the mezzanine pallet gate is most commonly applied, then the warehouse is it. Given the vast inventory volumes, a mezzanine floor provides that much needed additional floor space for storage and of course the pallet gate ensures that the inventory reaches the upper level without the unnecessary risk of injury to operators.
  • Ecommerce and retail –Distribution Centres and stores will often be maximised by the mezzanine floor yet operators are protected when handling high volume goods across multiple floor levels by the pallet gate.
  • Manufacturing – Managing raw material, component parts and end products across multiple floor levels, the pallet gate becomes a vital piece of safety apparatus that works to protect operators as they carry out their duties
  • Industrial–Any industrial facility where operators are expected to assist the transportation of goods between ground floor and mezzanine levels, the pallet gate protects them from injury and falls.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the pallet gate is not restricted to the above industries and environments alone. Any workspace where palletised goods are transported between mezzanine level and ground floor level, the pallet gate is a key safety feature

Pallet Gate

Pallet Gate

How do I determine the right pallet gate for my application?

To ensure a mezzanine pallet gate installation that meets your exact operational requirements, you should first consider the following:

  • The height, depth and width of your pallets
  • Pallet volume and speed
  • The size of the mezzanine floor
  • Colour preferences

…………Or you can simply contact WSL and speak to one of our design technicians who can help you to determine whether the standard pallet gate would meet your needs or if a bespoke design would be the more effective solution. Either way a solution implemented by the WSL team will be a solution perfect for your operational needs.

WSL is a designer and fabricator of bespoke mezzanine floor solutions with pallet gates being part of our growing manufactured product range which includes staircases, handrails, guide rails, staircases and much more.

We are a Full SEMA Member with UKCA certification which means quality and safety of only the highest levels is a guarantee.

Contact us today to find out more! Call 0113 2045350 or email sales@wslmail.co.uk

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