The Association of Loading and Elevating Equipment Manufacturers (ALEM) represents the interests of UK manufacturers and suppliers of loading bay equipment including dock levellers, scissor lifts, tail lifts and dock shelters. In this role, the Association is a member of the British Materials Handling Association which itself is the UK national member of FEM – the European Federation of Materials Handling and Storage Equipment.
ALEM provides both the President (John Meale, Thorworld Industries) and Secretary to the FEM Elevating Equipment Product Group which discusses all issues at a European level. Other ALEM members are also members of the Elevating Equipment Product Group along with representatives from France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
In recent years, the FEM Elevating Equipment Product Group, led by ALEM, has published a series of guidance documents. The four latest publications provide information and recommendations for companies and individuals involved in the planning and operation of loading bays. Subjects covered in the guidance documents include energy efficiency, safety, dock leveller selection and vehicle restraining devices.
FEM 11.005 – Vehicle Restraining Devices: Safety and Performance
This document provides guidance on the use of vehicle restraint systems to prevent ‘vehicle creep’ and unintended ‘driveaways’ during the loading and unloading of lorries, trucks and trailers. The document defines safety, performance and operating recommendations to provide a uniform means of comparison, improve user confidence and define safety aspects of various different vehicle restraining devices. Importantly, the guidance states that health and safety requirements will define which vehicle restraint device should be selected depending on the risk assessment and/or local conditions.
FEM 11.004 rev. 1 – Guidance on Dock Leveller Selection
First published in 2015 and updated in December 2017, this guidance document examines various elements of the design and use of dock levellers as a means of providing information to potential users considering the acquisition of such equipment. Various areas are considered including rated load, deck plate awareness, dynamic factors including braking, vehicle movement across dock levellers, types of handling equipment, avoidance of damage and visible capacity identification.
FEM 11.003 – Guidance on Safety On/Around a Vehicle Loading Area
A recently updated guidance document (October 2018), this publication includes comprehensive information to provide users, designers and suppliers with an awareness of the key hazards around the loading/unloading area. Also, included is a selection of recognised solutions plus information on the relevant applicable standards, directives and guidance documentation relative to the equipment used in the area. The inclusion of illustrations and diagrams shows typical equipment and accessories such as dock levellers, scissor lift tables, mobile yard ramps, inflatable dock seals, canopies and traffic light systems to further simplify the guidance provided.
FEM 11.006 – Ways to save energy in a Vehicle Loading Dock Area
Also published in October 2018, this guidance document examines the potential for energy loss in a loading/unloading dock featuring a variety of installations including types of dock seals and shelters, loading pods and doors. It also explains that, since the greatest potential for energy loss is in temperature controlled situations where a temperature difference exists between the building and the outside environment, the document focuses on energy saving applications in such applications. The document also considers the implications of such factors as height differentials between floor levels in buildings and the outside yard height.
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