Working to support the country’s essential services in this unprecedented time, warehouse operators need to devise safe practice methods to continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, to both assist and champion the nation’s collective combative efforts. But whatever the season, whether during the current crisis or beyond it, the loading bay is an area which has the potential to be hazardous. One possible risk is drive-away, when a vehicle or trailer moves from the loading bay too early, before the loading or unloading is complete. Vehicle creep can happen when loading equipment jolts the vehicle, widening the gap between the bay and the vehicle and potentially causing machinery or goods to fall from the vehicle. A steep incline, either on the dock plate or within the trailer, can cause goods loaded on wheeled equipment to roll out of the vehicle. If too much weight is placed towards the front of the trailer, it can tip forward from the landing legs when the trailer is uncoupled from the tractor unit. As the loading bay canopy can be compromised by ill-fitting seals, water can enter the loading bay, creating a slip hazard.

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

By adopting a ‘complete compliance’ operational approach regarding social distancing and safe working systems at its Derbyshire factory, loading bay solution specialist Thorworld Industries has been able to continue supplying emergency loading apparatus to hospital environments where COVID-19 patients are being treated. Although factory operations may have been functioning at a reduced capacity, the Thorworld team has successfully fulfilled key and essential loading equipment orders, including apparatus required within extremely short lead times. Equipment, including standard Ground Level Container Ramps, has been distributed – ideal for allowing access into standard shipping containers via forklift trucks. Bespoke variations of the ramps have also been supplied to support fridge containers with higher internal floors and drainage channels.

Door supplier Hörmann UK is continuing to support supply chain operators in minimising potential downtime, whilst simultaneously increasing productivity, through its SmartControl technology. SmartControl is an online portal that imbeds servicing into the daily operation of the door, providing technical door analysis that can be remotely accessed throughout the warehouse at all times. Supply chain operators can view important maintenance information such as error messages, updates on door cycles and an in-depth overview of the door’s overall performance. This enables individuals to oversee the maintenance of the product in real time, as any potential faults or wear of parts can be viewed instantly. The easy-to-use software also enables parts to be ordered and replaced before a breakdown occurs, significantly minimising any potential interruption in operations that may happen from a fault or damage due to misuse.

Besides supporting essential services, warehouse operators can also contribute to the nation’s wellbeing by keeping the loading bay safe, thus not stretching the health services any further.

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