At this time of the Coronavirus outbreak, concerns over health and safety are occupying the minds of all. The last thing any warehouse operator wants is to further burden the already overstretched health services by allowing staff to get injured. Although accidents can happen anywhere, one particular area which can be hazardous is the loading bay. There is the risk of vehicle creep during the loading process or of staff slipping on wet surfaces. It is therefore worth considering the providers of dock shelters, restraint systems, platforms and any other equipment that makes the process of loading and unloading safer.

This article was first published in the April 15th 2020 issue of Warehouse & Logistics News, subscribe to the magazine by clicking here.

Although April has seen a patch of sunny weather, it’s always only a matter of time until the next burst of rain. This means staff risk slipping over when entering the loading area. Many loading bays use shelters, canopies of curtains to protect staff and drivers from the weather. However, the seals can become worn, while vehicles and trailers may have different designs – trailers may have dynamic fins, for example. Both of these factors may result in the loading bay shelter letting in the wet weather. Dock shelters and seals, from suppliers such as BID Group, help protect goods and staff from the weather. They also keep the building at the correct temperature while goods are loaded and unloaded.

With warehouse owners demanding the highest standards in manufacturing, storage and distribution solutions, they need first class loading bay solutions, including single and double deck shelters and doors, plus dock levellers. Door suppliers may also provide dock bumpers, LED traffic lights and LED dock lights. For increased thermal efficiency, Hörmann UK’s double deck docks are fitted with secondary electric roller blind top flaps, providing a proficient seal when smaller vehicles use the bay and reducing heat loss.

Automatic Restraint Systems prevent unplanned vehicle movement during the loading process. The DE6190AR Automatic Restraint System from Assa Abloy has a cylindrical blocking arm which traps the trailer wheel. This gives two key safety advantages. It eliminates vehicle creep, and the vehicle cannot pull away before the loading process is entirely complete and is cleared to depart.

Logistics firms need lightweight platforms for the loading and unloading of vehicles. Thorworld Industries offers a platform solution with safety barriers and handrails included as standard. The platform can be positioned directly behind a vehicle’s container, providing a solid base on which pallets can be placed. From here a pallet can be safely lifted to the ground by a forklift truck. A hinged barrier on the platform includes a gas spring mechanism that locks into place, enhancing safety in both a raised and lowered position. Chain hooks and tensioning brackets connect the platform to the vehicle where possible. Even safer working conditions for the operators can be achieved by adding an anti-slip coating to the platform surface.

So during this unusual season of increased tension around the whole subject of safety, warehouse operators would do well to make every effort to ensure safety in the loading bay.

George Simpson, Features Editor

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