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Medical Device Manufacturer

A Minneapolis-based medical device manufacturer contacted Dakota Safety to install a modular guard rail system around HVAC equipment on the roof of their facility. They had worked with the client on a prior roof fall protection project, installing a non penetrating, safety railing system in their building.

The HVAC equipment in question is a series of “chiller units,” massive air conditioners with large fans on the top of the units that draw air down through the system . Roughly 30’ x 15’ x 8’ in size, the units offer access through their top and side panels for regular maintenance, repairs, and cleaning. Periodically, the fan motors need to be maintained and replaced by removing the fans from the top of the units. There was nowhere on the building roof or on the top of the chiller units to install a safety tie-off, leaving workers performing maintenance on the chiller units vulnerable to falls.

The design of the guard rail system presented a number of unique challenges. First, the chiller units’ housings were not sturdy enough to support a guard rail system installed directly into them. Second, due to the size of the units, a series of vibration isolators had been built underneath them to prevent their operation from shaking the entire structure; however, adding a traditional, bolted-on guard rail system would also have exceeded the weight limit of these vibration isolators. Finally, any rail system would have to include access points along the sides of the units so maintenance workers could easily remove the side air intake panels clean and repair the units when needed.

Our client had contacted the HVAC system’s manufacturer for safety solutions, but the options they offered proved impractical and cost-prohibitive.

Dakota Safety designed a complete custom solution using the Kwik Guard modular rail system. The Dakota Safety installation crew anchored the guard rails to a structural beam located just below the chiller units to circumvent the weight limitations. Base flanges rest on top of the HVAC system, but do not penetrate its outer casing. A ladder with self-closing was included for access to the fans at the top of the unit, and supporting beams and panels slide up and down easily, allowing for side panel access. This passive fall protection system also meets OSHA requirements for 42” rail heights.

We used a galvanized steel Kwik Guard handrail system to provide corrosion resistance for a long working life. Kwik Guard railings are also available in safety yellow or in custom colors to match the building.

Contact Dakota Safety today, or request a quote on Kwik Guard safety systems for your facility.