The History of the Safety Barrier


We’re so used to seeing safety barriers on our roads, at events, and in workplaces that it’s tempting to think they’re a new thing for modern times. But spoiler alert, they aren’t. Safety barriers go way back. Let’s look at the history of the safety barrier.

Early crowd control in Belgium

Safety barriers were used as early as 1864 in Belgium, though they looked a little different to those we know today. As a famous French photographer touched down in Brussels, the mayor decided to control the crowd that had gathered at the airport with some makeshift wooden barriers.

Interlocking barriers were born in France

The French company Samia produced the first interlocking safety barriers in the 1950s. Made from steel, they were popular throughout Europe and the United States. Their main use was for crowd control at events like concerts and the Olympics.

Road safety barriers in New Jersey

The history of the safety barrier on our roads began in the US. In 1955, the state of New Jersey introduced small concrete barriers along a stretch of Route 22. They improved safety enough that barriers began to appear along more roadsides. Nowadays, plastic barriers have replaced concrete ones on many roads. The reason being, crashing into a plastic barrier is a lot less damaging than crashing into a concrete one at hight speed!

Safety Barriers in the Workplace

In any workplace, there’s a potential for accidents. Some workplaces are inherently more risky than others, however. Take warehouses for instance. Forklifts or pallet trucks can crash into products or people. People can walk into dangerous areas without realising or injure themselves on machinery.

This is where safety barriers come in handy. Workplace barriers have evolved to suit today’s needs. Where previously there may have been steel guardrails or similar in a warehouse or factory, things have changed. Fabric safety barriers like our Obex Weatherproof Barrier with Chevron Belt cordon off dangerous areas and machinery, protect pedestrians, and much more. They are easily moved for access to an area and you can configure them to suit.

Safety barriers have evolved!

We hope we’ve enlightened you about the history of safety barriers. From those early days, they’ve evolved into the versatile and practical products we have today.

In our range, you’ll find pedestrian barriers, road traffic barriers, and everything in between. If you need help finding the essential products to keep your workplace, site, or event safe, get in touch with our friendly team who’ll help you find the perfect solution.

For more interesting articles on road and workplace safety, check out the rest of our blog.