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White lines don't do it

12 December 2012

The British warehouse industry must
demand more stringent standards on the
demarcation of pedestrian walkways to
boost safety

Halifax-based safety barrier manufacturer, A-Safe is calling
for stronger standards relati

The British warehouse industry must
demand more stringent standards on the
demarcation of pedestrian walkways to
boost safety

Halifax-based safety barrier manufacturer, A-Safe is calling
for stronger standards relating to the demarcation of
pedestrian walkways. The company cautions that unless
action is taken it will be more difficult to improve safety
performance in the warehouse.

Under current standards, road and pedestrian walkways should
be demarcated, but this can be interpreted widely from physical
barrier systems to a simple line painted on the factory floor.

HSE figures show that over the past two years there have been
3,827 major injuries to workers as a result of workplace transport
accidents, with 117 workers fatally injured over the past two years
as a result. Being struck by a moving vehicle accounts for more
than half of all fatal transport-related injuries.

A-Safe director, James Smith says: "Warehouse accidents
involving pedestrians and vehicles are unfortunately a high risk
associated with the manufacturing and warehousing industry, and
currently there is no standard to provide workers with the best
protection available.

"There isn't a standard there to explain exactly how people and
vehicles should be separated - with a physical barrier and what
type of force it should be able to resist. At the moment, the HSE
looks at each warehouse on a case-by-case basis and decides
whether safety measures are appropriate.

"There is no comparison when it comes to a painted white line
versus a tough barrier system, and companies have to ask
themselves whether the cost of a safety system is justified against
the value of keeping their staff safe."
A-Safe is seeking to make safety barrier systems with
independent loading tests and safety specification criteria an
industry standard. This is to avoid companies only looking to
introduce safety barriers with poor safety and performance
standards or only once a serious accident has occurred.

"We are asking company owners to look at the cost
implications of installing physical barriers versus the value of
protecting their workforce from accidents and the consequences
and penalties this would incur," Smith adds.

A-Safe recently carried out work for a client that had suffered
an on-site fatality and wanted to revise its safety procedures.

Smith continues: "The warehouse in question now has A-Safe
pedestrian barriers which are crucial in demonstrating layout and
safety systems.Where employees see the A-Safe yellow barriers
they instantly understand what it is and why it is there."
High impact
A-Safe advocates its pedestrian and vehicle barrier systems which
use the company's patented and highly visible plastic systems
which are said to be tough, durable and able to withstand impacts
from factory vehicles of up to 304KN. This is the equivalent of a
3.5 tonne vehicle travelling at 10MPH with a direct head on
impact into the barrier (the weight or speed of the vehicle can
dramatically increase as the impact angle changes). All A-Safe
barriers have been certified BS6180 and BS6399 - the closest
relevant standards, which were created primarily to govern car
parks and building exteriors.

Smith advises companies to consult with experts such as A-Safe
when specifying barriers as the specific needs of each warehouse
must be considered.

"The design of floor is important," he says, "as the barrier needs
to be attached correctly to the floor. Likewise fixings must be
specified correctly.

"We've seen some large companies use old racking bolted to
the floor as protection but what kind of force can this stop? Yes it
is a physical barrier, but what has it been tested to?"
A-Safe has developed over 50 variations of its products to suit
different applications. Traditional steel barriers have been
synonymous with strength, however A-Safe argues that its plastic
systems offer strength and a number of other benefits.

Smith concludes: "Each system has been manufactured from
special high-impact coloured polymer and provides high impact
absorption with little or no damage so maintenance and long
term upkeep costs are minimal.

"While traditional steel barriers may fulfil their function under
impact, this will cause damage to both the barrier structure and
the vehicle itself."
A-Safe has over 25 years of experience in the industry, and has
several high-profile clients across a wide-variety of industries
including ASDA, Coca-Cola,
DHL and Toyota.