Loading bay safety
Moving goods around the country has always been potentially hazardous, with road conditions, weather and other road users, all having the capacity to cause an accident or delay. From olden days when a cart rumbled along a track to the sophisticated logistics industry of today there are risks involved. In the logistics industry, of course, it is not only on the road where there is a potential for accidents.
Loading bay layout
Any environment where heavy objects are being moved around has the potential for something unfortunate to happen. The design of the loading bay or dock is inherently dangerous due to the movement of forklifts,heavy loads and personnel moving about. A loading bay is constructed so that goods can be moved from a truck into the warehouse, this means that the bay platform has to be at a height that is approximately level with the rear of the truck. This does mean that the loading bay is located at a significant height from the ground. The danger of falling is therefore a significant risk so barriers and clearly delineated markings on the edge of the bay are required to reduce the possibility of accidents. Also delivery patterns mean that operations take place very early in the morning or later at night when operatives may not be at their most alert, so as much warning of a potential hazard is important.
The physical dimensions of the loading area are also important for the safety of the people and the goods being moved. Space is important both from an efficiency point of view and for safety reasons. More space means there is somewhere for operatives to escape to in the event of a mishap such as a poorly driven forklift or perhaps a trailer being reversed where the driver may be unsighted.
Loading bay weather protection
A loading bay by its nature is open to the elements, which can create difficulties for operatives and goods. Some loading bays have a weather seal around the back of the truck when it is being unloaded which affords protection from the elements. This arrangement can create its own difficulties as the outside is effectively divorced from the inside and there is the potential, perhaps of the trailer being moved without the knowledge of those inside.
A canopy above the loading bay offers good weather protection to both operatives and the goods being transported. A loading bay canopy can be constructed to encompass the loading area and can cover both the bay and the truck if needed, to provide complete insulation from the elements, and because these structures can be sized to suit, they can provide that important aid to safety – space.
It is difficult to ensure complete safety when people, heavy loads and machinery are involved, which means risk assessments have to be carried out on all steps in the process, including taking into account the space available for the operations. That’s why there are any number of rules and regulations in the warehouse environment and whilst they may seem to get in the way of the operation, they do in fact help to ensure a safe environment. There is no reason why a well-designed loading bay should not be both safe and efficient.