Safety Barriers 101: 3 Types of Column Guards to Protect Your Facility

Yellow column protector in front of pallets in warehouse
Yellow column protector in front of pallets in warehouseYellow column protector in front of pallets in warehouse

A column guard is a safety barrier used to protect columns, posts, poles, and pillars, as well as pipes and tubes. This barrier is a common type of material handling equipment frequently used in warehouses, industrial spaces, and loading docks to protect the structural integrity of the building from damage caused by impact from forklifts, pallet jacks, Towomotors, and other moving equipment. 

Eagle offers three types of column guards for your facility. Which one is right for your building? Read on to learn about the features of each. You’ll probably find that a mix of all three offers the best protection. 

Classic Column Protectors

Classic column guards measure 42 inches high and come in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit different types of columns. To determine the best size and shape, first look at the profile of your column or pole. Is it a square, diamond shaped (aka V-profile) or round column? 

Next, measure the width of the column to match it to the interior opening of the building column protector. You want the fit to be as snug as possible. This allows the guard columns to give the best protection in the event of impact. 

For the proper fit with no slippage, Eagle classic column guards are designed with a key-lock mechanism, so the two halves sit perfectly flush together, with no space in between. Nylon straps wrap around the column protector once it’s in place to provide further security. 

This style of plastic column protector is much lighter than a steel column protector (only 40 pounds) and installs in minutes with no additional tools required. And yet it is heavy duty enough to withstand thousands of pounds of forklift impact from a small vehicle driven at normal warehouse speed. 

The impact protection you get with classic column guards is essential if you are a safety officer or facility manager in charge of a large space with equipment moving around throughout the day or night. If a forklift or pallet jack hits a post, you can avoid equipment damage. Hitting a column or pipe can put a forklift or Towmotor out of commission, interrupting your workflow and causing delays in meeting your goals. 

Even more importantly, your support structure remains undamaged. This can prevent ceiling or doorway collapse, which has the potential for serious injuries. 

A damaged column — assuming someone notices it — means you have to evacuate the area until it’s repaired. This shuts down your business operation and results in lost revenue — definitely a situation to avoid. Building damage can also cost you in raised insurance premiums, which is another avoidable expense you don’t want. 

Your investment in column protectors can pay for itself with just one accident that would have otherwise forced you to stop work, perform repairs, or file workers compensation claims. 

Eagle 1712OR column protector fits 12" square columnsEagle 1712OR column protector fits 12" square columns

Mini Column Protectors

Red mini column protector beneath mounted fire extinguisherRed mini column protector beneath mounted fire extinguisher

Mini column guards from Eagle are like their taller counterparts but shorter, measuring 24 inches in height. These column guards were created to accommodate columns or posts with something mounted on them — usually a fire extinguisher, intercom, phone, light, or alarm. 

You get all the benefits of the classic column guard with the mini version, just in a shorter height:

  • Easy installation with a key-lock mechanism and straps, with no extra tools required.
  • 100 percent high-density polyethylene (HDPE) material that stands up to equipment impact at 24 inches or lower.
  • Excellent durability, with resistance to many types of chemicals.
  • Variety of interior shapes and dimensions to achieve a tight fit around different sizes of columns.
  • Two color options (red or yellow finish) to suit your preferences.

Mini column guards with their bright colors are also ideal to help prevent equipment accidents in the first place, which is even better than blunting impact. They bring visual awareness of the post to equipment drivers, so they can avoid hitting it. At 30 pounds, these mini column guards can be set up quickly and easily, giving you the protection you need when a classic column guard isn’t practical. 

High-Visibility Column Protection

When you want greater visibility in a classic column guard, try one of Eagle’s hi-visibility column guards. These offer the identical protection of other column guards, with two additional benefits: 

  • Lime green or orange color for heightened awareness of standard columns and beams.
  • Reflective loop straps for high visibility in low-light situations or around headlamps.

High-visibility column guards are perfect for use in darker corners of your warehouse or manufacturing facility. They’re also a popular choice for parking structures, outdoor light poles, and basement spaces without natural sunlight. 

Red mini column protector beneath mounted fire extinguisherRed mini column protector beneath mounted fire extinguisher

Get All Three Types of Column Guards from Eagle

Eagle brings you each of the three types of column guards described above. Make your selection online after you’ve measured and determined which column protectors are best for each area of your workspace. We’ll ship your column protectors quickly to your business, and all you have to do is put them in place. 

If you’re interested in placing a bulk order, reach out to our sales team. They can help you with pricing and selecting the right models for your needs. 

Column guards are just one component of workplace safety. Eagle offers many other items for safe high-traffic material handling operations, including bollards and bollard covers, wall, rack and corner protectors, drum dollies and more. 

We’re committed to helping all kinds of workplaces remain safe from preventable accidents and to providing solutions, like eyewash stations, should an accident occur. To learn where your work site might be vulnerable, ask us about our STUD-E™ Workplace Safety Survey​. This is a free site assessment that gives you the information needed to prevent accidents and costly fines in the workplace.