One slip, and your vital signs might go beep …
Walkway gratings, stair treads, safety handrails – commonplace items that we take for granted and barely notice. Yet degradation of these essential items is a major cause of accidents on site.
Vital Engineering has been manufacturing gratings, stair treads, pressed floors and safety handrails since 1939 – earning a solid reputation for quality and service along the way. The company’s Vitagrid and Maclock brands are renowned for their quality and versatility, and are widely used in the mining, steel and civil service industries as well as power generation and food and beverage plants.
A significant percentage of accidents are related to trips, slips and falls from height, so it’s no surprise that project houses, designers and contractors insist on quality assured products geared to prevent costly fatalities.
Dodds Pringle, MD of Vital Engineering, explains that the degradation of grating, which generally results from hidden corrosion or poorly joined intersections, is a major cause of accidents on site.
Vitagrid precision-made and pressure-forged gratings, which had humble beginnings as Maclock gratings 80 years ago, deliver a level of quality and safety that has ensured their widespread acceptance. Extensive research and development were carried out during the refinement of the product. Only the highest grade materials are used, including certified 350WA mild steel, high quality stainless steels, aluminium and resins.
Vital Engineering was the first to manufacture these products in South Africa, and perfected the patented locking system to ensure that it met the required tolerance levels demanded by industry. In fact, when Vitagrid was pioneered, it created a major transformation in grating development, with many companies attempting to copy the system.
Pringle explains how localising the pressure forging of the transverse bar to either side of the bearer bar effectively eliminates the effects of pressure. It allows the pressed material to flow back into the aperture, ensuring a tight seal with accurate openings – and delivering a multi-direction non-slip grating.
“The older method of manufacture involved roll flattening of the entire transverse bar – but this caused the section to become brittle, with possible cracking,” says Pringle. “To provide a flush walking surface, the transverse bar then needed to be twisted back into an upright position, a process that doesn’t allow the transverse bar material to flow back into the aperture made in the bearing bar.”
To ensure their suitability for particular needs, designs and budgets, Vitagrid gratings are available with square or rectangular openings, varying pitch levels, bearer-bar depths ranging in thickness from 25 mm to 200 mm, and in a variety of materials and fire-resistant grades.
Vitaglass fibreglass non-slip gratings, stair treads and handrails are available for use in highly corrosive areas where galvanising finishes are not recommended. Fully serrated, multi-directional, non-slip safety floor gratings and stair treads are offered for dangerous areas and have been fully load tested.
“We stake our reputation on the quality of our products, our approved and vetted services supply chain, our raw material suppliers and our internal inspection at pre-trail layout prior to shipments,” says Pringle.
Vital Engineering believes its superior finishes and excellent site fitment give clients complete peace of mind. “We urge all grating users to weigh up the long-term impacts of downtime and medical costs when accidents occur as a result of inferior grating and poor galvanising standards,” says Pringle.