Ensuring employee safety in loading bay areas is a major priority for warehouse operators. This year there have been a number of high profile cases with Tesco being fined £1.6 million after a customer was injured in a loading bay incident at one of its stores, DHL being fined £2 million and Royal Mail £1 million.
Getting this wrong not only impacts companies financially it can be devastating and potentially life changing for anyone involved in the incident.
Most companies have clear written procedures to ensure workers safety when vehicles are reversing on to loading bays but moving vehicles on and off ramps in busy goods yards continues to be a dangerous environment for staff who are working in these environments. The Health & Safety Executive issues guidance expressing that “where possible the need for reversing should be eliminated” as part of its advice on safe manoeuvring. In practice it is extremely difficult to move vehicles on and off loading bays without reversing so keeping all workers clear of lorries being moved from holding areas to loading bays whenever possible will help reduce the risk of accidents.
Questions to ask when conducting a risk assessment for loading areas:
Where will goods be loaded & unloaded?
Who needs to be in the loading/unloading area – and who doesn’t?
Is there enough space around the bays for loading and unloading to take place safety?
Is the vehicle loading platform the same height as the loading bay platform?
What is visibility like for the drivers using the loading bay?
Could people fall from platforms or bays?
What are the risks of using dock shelters?
Is there an electrical risk associated with loading or unloading?
Have the people using the loading bay been trained to do so safely?
What systems are in place for calling vehicles and are staff trained to use them?
What can you do to keep staff away from vehicles?
DriverPage from Pager Call Systems is a system designed to improve efficiency and help protect workers by using on site pagers and tablet based call systems to alert a driver when they are required to move a vehicle on to a loading bay, the system eliminates the need for any staff to physically go to a vehicle to ask the driver to move on to the ramp.
With DriverPage a vehicle can be booked on to the system when coming on to site, the driver is given a pager and sent to a holding area then alerted via the pager with the loading bay displayed on the pager when they are required, using DriverPage ensures that the vehicle is only moved when needed without any staff having to walk around busy areas to tell drivers where to go.
Using DriverPage also offers the opportunity to remove vehicle keys to ensure a vehicle isn’t moved off the loading bay until authorised allowing the driver to be called to collect keys and move the vehicle when its safe to do so.
The DriverPage system also provides management reports showing how long a vehicle was held on site and when they were called to a bay and cleared off site. DriverPage not only helps improve staff safety it provides a faster more efficient way to move vehicles on site.
Companies wanting to know more about the DriverPage system can contact Pager Call Systems on 0800 774 7320 or visit their website to find out more at www.pagercall.co.uk.