Loading and unloading specialist Thorworld Industries is urging companies to assess every element of its loading bay to ensure that it is running at optimum safety.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures suggest that 15% of all reported workplace transport injuries happen during unloading and loading, affecting both drivers and workers involved in the unloading or loading of goods.
“The loading bay is a particularly hazardous environment due to the sheer number of variables which pose a risk,” explains John Meale, managing director of Thorworld Industries. “Accordingly, investment in safety must be comprehensive to reflect this.”
Thorworld explains that the differing needs of different types of loading/unloading operation means that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to installing safety aids. Each element of the operation must be assessed separately, and then equipment specified to suit the particular risk.
For example, bridging devices such as dock levellers offer safe movement between vehicle and loading area, but can do nothing to prevent vehicle separation from the loading dock; for the latter, a separate mechanism such as an interlock, wheel lock or wheel chocks must be considered.
“It is a matter of having sensible protocols in place to get the best out of equipment and build safety into the daily fabric of the loading bay,” confirms John Meale. “There is no magic wand; only through the systematic specification and use of appropriate equipment can a company ensure a robust and effective approach to safety.”
The latest additions to Thorworld’s product range exemplify this policy. The Yardramp Safety Interlock and Loading Bay Interlock both introduce a rigorous protocol into common applications to prevent drive-offs.
Both products utilise a ‘trapped key’ control system that only permits the use of loading bay equipment once specific criteria have been met. The interlock is secured onto the trailer’s emergency air hose connector, restricting the vehicle from driving away at the wrong time. Once the air-hose is locked, a coded key is released that the operator can use to access the desired equipment.
While the products share functionality, Thorworld deemed it crucial that two different interlocks have been made available, reflecting the differing requirements of the yardramp compared to loading dock doors or levellers.
“The aim of any solution is to ensure long-term safety in tandem with the reliable performance of the loading bay, which means that safety aids must not conflict with the operational needs of a piece of equipment,” explains John Meale. “It would not be practical to use the same type of interlock throughout the loading bay; therefore both of our interlock systems have been carefully designed to complement specific pieces of equipment, and integrate with existing equipment and operations.”
The launch of the interlocks also underlines Thorworld’s commitment to identifying gaps in the company’s own offering. “We see ourselves as a one-stop supplier and the new interlocks help us to meet our stated aim of having a robust safety solution for every part of the loading bay so that businesses can load and unload with confidence,” John Meale concludes.
Thorworld Industries Ltd
Tel: 01246 260981