Tackling loading bay safety during Peak
03 October 2017
Hörmann UK’s projects director, Tom Langley, discusses the changing face of the warehouse and logistics industry and how loading bay safety is paramount during peak seasons.
As the bottleneck of a warehouse, loading bays are a focal point for activity and need to be as efficient as possible. Bringing together a number of elements including machinery, vehicles, and personnel, means that safety is pivotal.
With eCommerce changing the way consumers shop, retailers are having to continuously look at new ways of managing customer expectations. In order for them to do this, warehouse operators are under increasing pressure to consider how they can deliver goods faster, more efficiently and in the safest possible way.
This change has been, without a doubt, one of the biggest logistical challenges of the century, but in recent years it has also identified certain peaks. One of these being Black Friday, which has swept the nation and seen Brits take advantage of the American Thanksgiving tradition for the past few years. Peaks like this and changes in consumer buying habits have not only led to a rapid reshaping of the retail industry, but they have also meant that consumer demand has risen. With this in mind, it is more important than ever for warehouse operators to manage and meet expectations, while providing individuals on site with robust safety.
This increased demand on the warehouse and logistics industry means that both construction of, and upgrades to distribution premises are at a record high and specialist requirements are having to be considered to ensure each premise reaches the height of its distribution potential. With any size project, health and safety is now not only at the forefront of the design of loading bay equipment but is a top priority within the workspace.
Earlier this year, Hörmann successfully finished the installation of over 130 loading bays at two John Lewis Partnership sites in Magna Park Milton Keynes. Developed by IDI Gazeley, the 638,000 square foot warehouse facilities have been designed to future proof the leading retailer’s supply chain and support its growth in online business.
To ensure that health and safety measures are adhered to on site, developing a safe working environment was crucial. Differing dock specifications, vehicles, visiting drivers and lack of direct communication between driver and warehouse staff are just some of the things that can contribute to potential problems. With this in mind, and having already supplied both existing John Lewis Partnership sites at Magna Park three, Hörmann installed several products to prevent health and safety hazards.
In order to accommodate the exact requirements of John Lewis Partnership’s diverse fleet of vehicles, 16 mechanical dock levellers were installed for van bays to ensure that there was a flush connection between the loading bay and vehicle. The precise positioning not only created a safe link, but the van bay shelters also helped to deter slip-ups by reducing the amount of water that could enter between gaps during adverse weather conditions. Double-skinned steel SPU F42 sectional doors with full width panoramic vision panels were installed on each loading bay and Nytrex buffers were installed onto the outside of the warehouse to prevent expensive collision damage and absorb the dynamic shock from a lorry during docking.
With eCommerce continuing to increase, warehouse and distributors are continually looking at ways to help fulfil changing consumer requirements and ensure that safety is paramount. Each year, Hörmann invests in research and development to meet and exceed these demands, and this includes designing and installing equipment that makes the loading bay safer, even during peak periods.