Guardrail Clamp System

A guardrail clamp system enables guardrails to be erected onto building structures without drilling.


A guardrail clamp system is a system of clamping devices that secure vertical posts and/or toe boards which enable guardrails to be erected onto horizontal and odd-angled structural edges.  Guardrails are the primary means of fall protection in construction. It is a passive form of fall protection that is a physical barrier that prevents people from falling to lower levels.  A guardrail consists of a top rail at a height of 42 inches ( + or - 3 inches) above the walking/working level, a midrail at a height of 21 inches above the walking/working level, and a 4-inch tall toeboard.

There are various types of guardrail clamp systems commercially available.

The SurShield® Guardrail Clamping System (Figure 1) allows workers to erect OSHA compliant guardrail systems on open edges of concrete structures such as balconies and bridge decks.  This system clamps directly onto the edge of the structure without drilling so it is fully reusable.  This system adjusts with a lift of the ring and tightens securely with one single tension bolt for deck thicknesses up to 11 inches.

Figure 1. Safety Maker, Inc. SurShield® Guardrail Clamping System

The VersiShield® Guardrail and Stair Rail Clamping System (Figure 2) allows workers to erect OSHA compliant guardrail and stair rail systems on open edge structures in many commercial and residential constructions. For angled structures such as concrete formed stairs, each clamping device in this system has the capability to swivel at various angles and lock securely onto the edge of the structure.  The system adjusts with a lift of the ring and tightens securely with one single tension bolt. One model works on deck and stair thicknesses up to 15 inches while a newer version can accommodate thicknesses up to 30 inches.

Figure 2. Safety Maker, Inc. VersiShield® Guardrail Clamping System

The RaptorClamp™ Guardrail Clamping System (Figure 3) allows workers to install OSHA compliant guardrails horizontally for parapet roof edges.  The system also allows workers to install guardrails vertically for soffits and intermediate floors, expanding from 3 to 24 inches.

Figure 3. RaptorClamp™ Guardrail Clamping System

Risks Addressed:

Falls from height can cause serious injury or even death. Properly installed guardrails can prevent worker injury or death by providing a physical barrier that will not allow a fall to occur. This passive method of fall protection is a preferred solution to fall hazards in construction because it requires no action from the worker.

How Risks are Reduced:

When constructed correctly, guardrails can prevent a person from falling from elevated workplaces.  Guardrails provide a physical barrier between the worker and the fall hazard.

Safety and health experts as well as manufacturers and vendors believe there is a fall risk reduction when guardrails are properly erected. Guardrails are considered fall prevention methods; fall protection methods, such as personal fall arrest systems and safety nets, are less preferable because they function only after a worker has fallen. Guardrails effectively eliminate the fall hazard when installed correctly.

Effects on Productivity:

There is limited peer-reviewed evidence about the effect on productivity of guardails as fall prevention solutions.

Additional Considerations:

For more information, please visit guardrails in Construction Solutions.

OSHA 1926.502(b) provides safety and health regulations for construction pertaining to guardrail systems.

Center of Gravity

The height of the guardrail (42") is designed to protect workers with their center of gravity below the top rail. A worker with a center of gravity above the top rail is in danger of falling over the guardrail if he or she comes in contact with the guardrail. A person's center of gravity is typically around their midsection. If a worker's center of gravity is above the top rail, he or she should stay back at least 6 feet from the guardrail. An alternative is to extend the guardrail upwards. Guardrails can be extended to 45 inches high.

A recent innovation in railings, which is typically seen in atrium style hotels, places an addition to the top rail positioned outward and upward 10 to 12 inches and at a slope of 30 to 35 degrees from vertical.

Installing Guardrails

Installing guardrails can be a dangerous activity. While the worker or workers are installing the guardrail there is typically no fall protection against the fall hazard until the guardrail installation is completed. It is best to pre-plan and engineer anchorage points for the installation workers to tye off restraint systems or personal fall arrest systems while the guardrails are being installed.

Hazards Addressed:


Safety Maker Guardrail Clamping System
To obtain information, visit SurShield Guardrail Clamping System and VersiShield Guardrail and Stair Rail Clamping System or contact 1-800-804-4741

Fall Protection Equipment
Fall protection equipment for residential construction classified by the type of equipment and the phase of construction can be found on this Washington University website.

Return on Investment

To calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your specific application, please visit our Return on Investment Calculator. While a specific ROI example has not been developed for this particular solution, the ROI Calculator provides a useful tool and guidance on how to generate your own on investment analysis.