Loading bays are high traffic areas. As such, every business needs to ensure optimum safety throughout loading and unloading. Choosing the right dock levelers, overhead sectional doors and operating systems all contribute to the safety of staff and stock during the loading process. But if you are looking for something that goes one step further, a restraint system is the ultimate in loading bay safety.
The risk of movement
As forklift trucks drive on and off a truck during loading, there is a risk that the impact can cause the vehicle to unintentionally roll away from the loading bay – a problem known as vehicle creep. Another potential risk is if the truck drives off prematurely due to a misunderstanding, lack of communication or incorrect instruction. Restraint systems prevent unwanted movement during the loading process, keeping staff safe from accident and injury.
Manual vehicle restraint systems
The simplest manual vehicle restraint is a wheel chock. However, these are not very effective in icy or snowy conditions and they do not supply enough restraining force to guarantee that premature drive off can be prevented. Other manual vehicle restraint systems are a good option. They work much like automatic ones, but are operated manually on the ground. When the vehicle is in place the operator moves the blocking carriage along the rail to the right position to activate the blocking arm. Once it is activated and the rear wheel is blocked, traffic lights signal to personnel that loading can begin. Manual restraint systems are less costly to install than automatic restraint systems, but they do fall short in terms of speed and efficiency.
Hydraulic vehicle restraint systems
Choosing automatic hydraulic systems ensures optimum safety at the loading bay by removing the risk of human error. When the vehicle is in the right position at the dock, the hydraulic wheel restraint system is activated from the control box inside the building – meaning all personnel are still clear of the docked vehicle. Hydraulic restraint systems stand apart from manual systems as they apply a constant restraining force throughout the whole loading operation. In addition, with an automatic system the operation of the whole loading bay can be integrated so that dock doors cannot open before the restraint system is in place, and the blocking arm will only retract when the dock door is closed.
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