A Huddersfield businessman will put the focus on safety at a national conference.
Rob Fay, managing director of Fenay Bridge-based Easilift Loading Systems, will underline how companies can improve safety in the loading bay when he addresses the Fork Lift Truck Association’s 2013 National Fork Lift Safety Conference.
Mr Fay will outline the importance of taking time and care to develop safety processes rather than making snap decisions by choosing familiar or obvious options.
He said: “A robust safety protocol is necessary whenever goods are to be loaded or unloaded, but many of the most important decisions are made before a loading bay becomes operational.
“Selecting the right products and suppliers is absolutely critical; get these aspects wrong and safety will be compromised before the first trailer pulls up to the dock.”
Easilift, based at Penistone Road, argues that many of the most popular safety solutions on the market – such as vehicle restraint systems – are not 100% reliable because they are essentially reactive measures.
“While restraint devices have their place as a fail-safe, it is better to design loading bays to prevent the possibility of drive aways or vehicle creep from the outset,” said Mr Fay.
He said Easilift advocated alternative methods such as key control processes that not only restrict the driver’s ability to move his vehicle, but provide a range of benefits to aid operational performance.
The company’s own dock management system, for example, enables customers to control door use for improved security and greater energy efficiency – and to monitor usage patterns to assist future planning of the loading bay.
At the conference, Mr Fay will present video evidence from a top-name retailer to underline the capabilities of the technology.
The need for forward planning will also be a major theme of the talk. “After 35 years in the industry, we know that the best way of avoiding risk is to anticipate it,” said Mr Fay. “The earlier the engagement with customers, the sooner we can assess a loading bay design to ensure that it is optimised for the proposed usage.”
In particular, Easilift believes that new builds such as distribution centres can be improved “at birth” by introducing architects and contractors to loading bay specialists.
“Too often the loading bay is an afterthought and suppliers are sub-contracted on a competitive tender rather than industry experience – that is where mistakes are made,” said Mr Fay.
“Even a small error such as the working height of the dock or the gradient of the slope leading to it, can adversely affect safety.
“We are finding increasingly that the best distribution centres are those where the architect factors in the feedback of loading bay specialists such as ourselves, who can point where subtle adjustments that will have a major payback in terms of long-term performance and safety.”
Mr Fay will deliver his speech – How To Improve Loading Bay Safety – on September 25 at the conference, which takes place at Warwick University.