The award-winning network has teamed up with double-deck trailer specialists, Trailer Resource Ltd, to develop a bespoke trailer aimed at reducing health and safety issues surrounding loading and unloading.
Figures for the past year show that slips and trips by transport drivers and operatives across the whole industry resulted in an alarming 6,352 reported injuries during 2008 and 2009.
Some 815 of the injuries proved to be major and 2,361 involved employees taking more than three days off work – costing UK businesses thousands of pounds in lost manpower and decreased efficiency.
The trailer is the brainchild of Trailer Resource Ltd managing director Des O’Connor, who developed the idea having seen a rise in the number of double-decks being used in the industry over the past two years.
Des explained: “Since double-decks exploded onto the scene they have brought with them some huge benefits, but as they have become more and more popular, we have noticed health and safety concerns that many people weren’t first aware of.
“The major concern that needed addressing was access. This involved coming up with a design that would minimise the risk to the end user when getting on and off the trailer and how to safely access and work on the top deck.
“By working in conjunction with Palletforce we believe we have come up with a cutting edge solution that will educate the whole industry.”
Already on the road with Palletforce member Stones Distribution, the trailer incorporates many of the Health and Safety Executive’s main focus points including areas with three points of contact to the vehicle, which is vital for access to the beds of trailers.
One of the other main features of the cutting edge trailer includes a non-slip ladder and grab handles incorporated into the front partition to aid safe access to the top deck.
Once on the top deck, the user’s risk of injury is minimised further by securing straps which have been placed on both sides and at either end of the trailer’s roof struts. This will allow the user to clip on a safety harness and be able to work freely and safely – without the risk of falling from height.
Other safety features of the trailer include:
• Improved offside access to the trailer step area.
• Greater nearside access to trailer step area – via a ‘pull out’ ladder.
• A step incorporated into the side guard providing access to the front of the main trailer bed from either side.
• Safer access to the back of the trailer – via a step integrated into the rear frame.
• Access to the rear of the trailer main bed – via side mounted rear step.
• Mesh flooring on the top deck for easier checking of load security and better vision for forklift loading.
• Elasticated strap lift hooks which clear the bottom of the rave – to avoid snagging when drawing curtains.
• For easier loading/unloading the curtains can be stowed across the back of the trailer to leave the sides clear.
• All safety features marked with reflective yellow stickers to ensure they can be seen and used safely at night.
Palletforce health, safety, quality and facilities manager, John Rothery, said: “Creating a safe and secure working environment for all our members and employees is vital, especially those transporting, loading and unloading goods.
“People don’t need to fall far to seriously injure themselves and this industry-leading trailer design comes with a whole host of extra safety features to minimise that risk.”
Phase one of the trailer design complete, Trailer Resources are now developing a series of additional safety features to add to the design.
These include hard hat warnings on the outside of the curtain, contact telephone numbers clearly marked on the curtain in case of emergency and a store for gloves, hard hats and fire extinguisher – to ensure users are fully protected at all times.