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There are some products which are sold along side safety guard rail solutions that seem to do the same thing, but without anchoring or permanent mounting. The most obvious difference here is that these rail systems are not safety rated and are used for crowd control purposes only.
A crowd control interlocking barrier or stainless steel railing system can be effective for keeping people in the areas where they are 'supposed' to be. Any safety application, including fall prevention or assisted stair climbing, must be addressed using the proper safety guard rail.
The "non-safety" barriers are perfect when used for the functions which they were designed to serve. Much like misusing crane equipment, serious repercussions can result in misapplying these barriers in a safety capacity. When in doubt, consult OSHA guidelines for the final say.