The vehicle loading and unloading area is potentially one of the most hazardous areas in any company, warehouse or distribution centre. With a robust safety strategy, they are “an accident waiting to happen.”

Mark James’ talk will outline key hazards, suggest solutions and advise on relevant and applicable standards and directives for loading and unloading equipment.

Where there exists a height variation and/or a horizontal gap, there is scope for operators or fork lifts to fall. Mark will outline the various bridging devices that can be used (such as dock levelers, scissor lift tables or yardramps) and essential accessories including gates and handrails.

Movement of vehicles is another area that must be carefully controlled to avoid trapping or crushing operators, or prevent fork lifts falling off the back of trailers. Mark will detail the preventative options available, from wheel chocks to air locks to complex key removal protocols.

Weather can have an adverse effect on safety, from slippage caused by water ingress to health effects suffered by employees from extreme operating temperatures. Mark will detail how the strategic use of dock seals and shelters can help warehouse managers to meet many of their ‘duty of care’ requirements.

Nonetheless, there is no better prevention than putting a robust system in place that integrates many or all of the above possibilities. Mark will advise how investment throughout the loading and unloading area – down to the installation of traffic lights and alarm sirens – can engender an effective and safe operating environment.

He will also suggest hints and tips that can make all the difference – such as the placement of control panels away from moving items to protect against operators getting trapped under equipment.

The basic source of information for Mark’s presentation will be the European Federation of Materials Handling (F.E.M.) Guidance Document on “Safety on and Around a Vehicle Loading Area” to which Mark was a contributor.

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