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Advice on loading bay accessories

09 March 2015

There are a essential loading bay requirements that all companies require, whatever the configuration of their loading bay, says Thorworld.

While every company’s requirements differ, there are common themes to ensure that loading bays are used effectively and safely. Thorworld MD John Meale explains: "Larger operators will likely install dedicated loading bays, whereas SMEs might favour the versatility and cost-effectiveness of a container ramp.

"Nonetheless, there are certain conditions that all companies must have a solution for, from the largest to the smallest.”

Thorworld has identified several common areas that warehouse operators must consider:
• Safe access from loading bay to vehicle.
• Protection against weather and other environmental factors.
• Protection against damage to buildings.
• Effective vehicle placement.
• Prevention against premature vehicle departure.

• Enhanced communication for safety.

It is highly likely that there will be a height differential between loading bay and vehicle, so a range of equipment needs to be available to achieve safe access from one to the other. While the most popular of these bridging devices is the dock leveller, it is worth looking at the various options.

"Lift Tables, Dockplates, Dockboards and Hinged Bridgeplates all offer their particular advantages and might suit certain loading bay set-ups better than a dock leveller,” explains John Meale. "For SMEs especially, they can provide a cost-effective alternative that is more than satisfactory for their loading requirements.”

Another area where cost savings and efficiency can be easily achieved is by installing equipment to prevent weather ingress. Dock seals or shelters are proven to provide barriers against the elements; as such, they deliver diverse benefits to warehouse operators.

Buildings also need to be protected during the loading/unloading process. Without adequate protective measures, a reversing trailer can do a lot of damage to warehouse premises. For that reason, it is advised to invest in dock bumpers and vehicle alignment curbs.

Preventing drive-aways is a priority and measures can be installed to avoid this possibility, from simple mechanisms such as wheel chocks to more sophisticated vehicle restraints and interlocking systems, which can only be unlocked when the all-clear has been granted.