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Finding Handrails for Awkward Spaces

Handrails in awkward situation

Today, elderly people and those with limited mobility aren’t sitting at home isolated.  Public spaces are being reimagined to make them more accessible for everyone.  Handrails are a simple way to make your shop, nursing home or hospital more comfortable.  With a good modular handrail system such as Interclamp, you can devise precisely what you need.  Some spaces, particularly in older buildings, are a bit awkward.  But using a modular handrail system allows you to customize the handrails to fit the space.  You don’t have to leave any spaces without handrails with this bespoke solution. Interclamp is suitable for internal/indoor and outdoor/external use.

External/outdoor or internal/indoor stairs modular handrail for elderly, nursing homes or hospitals

It isn’t only the elderly and disabled populations who need handrails.  Anyone can be injured or become ill and find that a handrail makes visiting a business much easier.  Handrails are important for stairs too, both indoors and outdoors.  They can help prevent accidents, and people generally feel more secure knowing they are there in case of a slip or trip.  Children too need handrails on stairs.  And Ireland’s wet climate means surfaces both outdoors and inside near entrances can become very slippery.

How a Modular Handrail System Works for You

You assemble a modular handrail system with the precise size and shape components that you require for your specific space.  You can design precisely the handrails you need to fit the dimensions.  Some older buildings can have awkward spaces, especially if they have been remodelled to accommodate modern offices.  But a modular handrail system is extremely flexible.

You can purchase the components you need.  The Interclamp brand offers joinings beyond the basic T and X options.  They supply adjustable knuckle connections and adjustable T connections so you can position the railings at the exact angle you need.  Interclamp also manufactures double swivel joinings for both corners and flat spaces.  These allow you to change the angle of a rail at any point where it is needed.  

Before installing handrails, you should check the local building regulations to ensure you are purchasing the modular handrail components that meet the criteria for your building’s use.  Buildings that host large crowds such as stadiums and concert halls need handrails that can withstand more use and abuse than the handrails in a small clinic or high street shop, for example.

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Finding the Right Nursing Home Wall Protection

With so many options on the market, how do you know which is the best nursing home wall protection? The main considerations are:

  • Protection
  • Guidance
  • Performance
  • Anti-bacterial & cleanability
  • Visibility

It must offer excellent damage protection.  But it must also look appropriate and be easily maintained. Hospital damage protection equipment can often look institutional, and with patients only staying a short time for care, that is fine.  But a nursing home is just that – a home.  And a stainless steel wall protector does not really look like home.

Protection & Guidance

Nursing home wall protection needs to be functional in two ways.  It must offer heavy duty wall protection, and it must help residents with limited mobility. It should be designed to provide practical care and accommodate medical equipment, trolleys and wheelchairs. Items such as carts of medical equipment or medication and trolleys will knock into the walls, so hospital damage prevention measures are important. There is regulations in regards handrail grip: HBN 00-04, HBN 00-10, BS8300:2009+A1:2010 and Approved Documents K & M of The Building Regulations 2010. All Gradus wall protection is specified to the above requirements. For example, the handrail element of the CHR160 (shown below) features a 38mm diameter and incorporates a thumb groove to offer a comfortable grip in line with guidance.

Nursing home and hospital corridor hygienic antibacterial handrail

Visibility & Wayfinding

Handrails need to be easily identified and located for support and wayfinding and should be selected in a colour that has a Light Reflectance Value (LRV) that is 30 points different from the surrounding surface. All Gradus handrail colours have been measured to provide LRVs

Hygiene & Performance

It’s recommended your wall protection is independently tested for impact resistance, fire performance and chemical/bacterial/fungal resistance. You should also have a scheduled maintenance programme to prevent the build-up of dirt and grease, which will detract from the overall appearance of the product and can lead to the spread of germs and bacteria. When cleaning handrails, particular attention should be paid to the underside of the handrail as this is where dirt and grease can build up. The cleaned surface should then be ‘rinse wiped’ using clean water and then thoroughly dried using a soft cloth. This ensures all cleaning residue is removed. Make sure to read your wall protection instructions before using abrasive cleaners, solvents or cleaning pads.

Decorative & Hospital Damage Protection 

Most nursing home residents understand they are there for the duration of their lives.  They know they are no longer able to live independently.  This is a painful realization.  And the decoration and atmosphere of the nursing home should be sensitive to this. Gradus Wall Protection Ireland offers a range of options that can suit any environment or décor.  Offering excellent protection, this line includes a choice of 34 standard colour options.  This means it can blend in and even enhance the décor at any facility.  Instead of looking institutional and drab, this nursing home wall protection can brighten up a room and create a cheerful, homey look.  Gradus Wall Protection Ireland also offers a range of wood, metal and composite finishes.  For a very customized alternative, they can also do a bespoke printed design.

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If you need assistance or guidance on how to protect your people and property, get in touch today. Damage is inevitable, workplaces are unpredictable, SVL solutions are essential.


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How To Clean Your Social Distancing Screens

Social distancing screens for separation in Ireland, this is separating desks in a office space

How to clean your social distancing screens – do’s & don’ts

  1. Lint-free cloth, tepid water with a light soap
  2. Do not wipe in circular motions- wipe in one direction using parallel, overlapping strokes
  3. Apply soft pressure to avoid scratching or blemishes
  4. Do not use sharp or hard objects to remove stubborn dirt or stains – avoid using fingernails to
  5. Air drying is the best practice to achieve a pristine finish and avoid scratching and scrapes

HSE COVID Information Booklet

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Products in our Social Distancing Protection Solutions: sneeze guards, free standing screens, PPE, face masks, hygienic dispensers, retractable barrier belts, separation barriers, and rails.

Checkout screens for social distancing protection from COVID in Ireland, keep customers and staff safe

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Creating A Safer Forklift Environment

Forklift stopped in warehouse in between two aisles of racking, with forks down to create a safer forklift environment, rack legs are protected by rack mounted guards

SVL is Ireland’s premier all-in-one impact protection and damage prevention provider. We’re on the ground in warehouses across the country, creating a safer forklift environment is an ongoing challenge.

In this article, we identify the most common risks and outline what measures you can take to reduce damage and accidents.

Forklift Design and Type

Forklifts vary in function, size, weight and construction. Consider these variables when deciding the appropriate speed, the greater the weight, the slower the speed.

Internal Routes

Forklift routes should be assessed and mapped accordingly. Key factors include the number of vehicles in operation and pedestrian traffic. The ceiling heights, surface type and skid capacity will also determine the distance required to stop the vehicle.

Pedestrian Awareness

If pedestrian walkways intersect forklift routes like at a loading bay, slower speed limits are necessary. Also, appropriate markings with clear signage, pedestrian safety barriers and or bollards are imperative.


A driver’s visibility is key, are there blind spots due to racking, beams or columns? Drivers must not operate in areas of low light. In the instance of carrying a high load, does your premises require a goalpost to warn the driver of imminent danger from above?

Driver Alertness

Ramps, curves, barriers, bollards and bumps in the road are just a few obstacles you need to look out for. Forklift speed must decrease as a ramp declines. Be wary of sharp turning movements, toppling a forklift is not uncommon, especially with a raised load.

Diagram illustrating where a forklift's balance should be maintained, aided by a triangle target stay within to create a safer forklift environment

Centre Of Gravity

A forklift has a three-point suspension system. A visual cue to help a driver understand the forklift’s centre of gravity is the stability triangle. The two base triangle points are found in line with the two front wheels, and the third point(apex) of the triangle is within the rear wheels.

Factors that alter the centres of gravity: ramps, slopes, raised loads, speed, sudden turns, uneven terrain, unbalanced load, heavy loads.

Should you require any further detail on creating a safer forklift environment, or wish to place an order, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Enquire now | (0)1 257 2260

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Improving Material Handling Safety

Forklifts, pallet jacks and other mobile equipment make material handling easier and more efficient for employees of factories, warehouses and distribution centres. But when not utilised properly, this heavy machinery can also put the safety of material handling in jeopardy.

Below are 10 ways safety can be improved through the proper use of material handling equipment, as recommended by our partners in McCue.

Improving Material Handling Safety

  1. Allow only trained, certified and qualified employees to operate forklifts and other heavy machinery.
  2. Perform daily inspections and audits on all material handling equipment.
  3. Keep paths and aisles clean and free of any loose debris that could get in the way of machinery.
  4. Operators and supervisors should know and adhere to the size and weight restrictions for each piece of equipment and never attempt to lift or transport more than the recommended capacity.
  5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be worn at all times during equipment operation, and seat belts should always be used.
  6. Employees who do not operate machinery but work near it should also be properly trained in safe practices for doing so.
  7. When finished with use, equipment should be lowered to ground level, turned off with keys removed and stored out of the way.
  8. Materials should be inspected before loading to ensure the pallet is intact, any lids or protective wrapping are properly sealed, and the stack is stable.
  9. Have an emergency plan in place and make sure all employees know how to execute it.
  10. Perform preventive maintenance on all equipment on a regular basis to ensure it is always in good working order.


Implementing Safety Measures

One of the easiest ways to improve material handling safety in any facility is to install bollards, protectors, guards and other items wherever heavy machinery is used.

Alongside McCue, SVL specialize in damage prevention and impact protection. So contact us today, and get your premises up to date with the latest designs and products.

  • Bollards
  • Crash and pedestrian barriers
  • Rack guards and end protectors
  • Column guards
  • Door protectors & Goal Posts
  • Flex posts

These products can greatly improve safety by minimizing impact and absorbing shock when collisions happen.


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Could a Fresh Shopfit Increase Your Profits?

shop fit

Having a complete store fitting done and replacing your shop equipment can be an expensive venture.  But if done correctly, it can pay off with increased sales.  To learn if a new shopfit could help your retail venture, you need to consider a few things.  Before you make a decision about whether to do a whole store fitting or just replace some shop equipment, consider these points.

  • What is your return per square metre? How does it compare with your industry and local norms?  If you think your store needs freshening up but your return per square metre is above average for your niche and geographic location, it might make sense to simply replace any worn out retail display units or retail shelving.
  • Are you striving to improve customer flow through the space?  Look for any dead space, areas that are not well used and perhaps need to be redesigned.  Consider how items are grouped and arranged.  Does it make sense?  The goal is to entice shoppers from one section to the next without frustrating them.
  • A shopfit is about more than just retail display units and shop equipment.  Think about lighting.  Will you need to change the lighting when you do a store fitting?  Or would just changing the lighting be enough?
  • When you are preparing your budget for a shopfit, remember that if you move your retail shelving, it might expose a contrast between worn areas of the floor and places that have been protected by your shop equipment.  Will you need to replace the flooring?

When you are considering a having a new store fitting, you have to think carefully about the cost.  Consult with experienced professionals to get a good idea of all of the costs involved, and set a target for how of an increase you would need to see in your return per square metre.  A fresh shopfit could make better use of your space, allowing you to fit in more merchandise and arrange it in a more appealing way.  You could develop better storage strategies to create more retail floor space.  And you can use eye-catching new retail display units to increase impulse spending.  A new store fitting is a significant investment, but it can be one that is well worth making.

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Protect Your Landscaping this Summer

Car park - Landscaping

Spring has been slow to start, but now the sun is out more often and finally plants are starting to bloom.  What do people see when they arrive at your retail premises?  Have you put in any attractive landscaping?  Maybe you have a few trees in the car park or some flowering shrubs around the perimeter.  Whatever you’ve done to make your premises more attractive, you want it to stay that way with the right damage prevention equipment.

Summer brings out some hazards as well as the sun.  Along with the fresh greenery and flowers, we get those few individuals who don’t seem to notice the actual entrance to your location and barge across the landscaped areas, stomping on your groundcover.  Bored youth can apparently mistake your car park for the town park and park themselves there, leaving behind a mound of litter.  Or worse still, they can decide your car park makes an awesome skate park.  Damage prevention is a proactive approach to protecting your landscaping and car park with steel barriers and bollards.

Damage Prevention for Landscaping

When the weather is poor, people are generally driving to your location.  But when the sun comes out, if you are in a residential area, you are likely to see more foot traffic.  And some of that foot traffic will try to take a short cut across your landscaped areas.  Bollards are a good way to designate the route you want them to take to your entrance, but steel barriers such as the Armco crash barrier, are what will keep them out of the landscaping.  An Armco crash barrier will also stop any out of control cars from driving up on your landscaped areas.

Youth loitering in the car park are a harder problem to solve.  One extra benefit of using bollards and steel barriers instead of cement walls is that they are not comfortable seating.  Good lighting and good design are two important tactics.  Make sure your car park does not have any dark corners or crannies that give people a place to lurk out of sight.  Making surfaces less appealing for skateboarding also helps.  Perhaps the most important strategy for making your car park uninviting for youth is to have a human presence.  Assign staff to patrol the car park frequently and to be seen doing tasks outside the store.  A watchful eye is a powerful damage prevention tool.

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Protecting the Smallest Shoppers

Safe shop

Let’s be honest.  A toddler in the store is no one’s idea of a good time, least of all the parent’s.  Yes, they are adorable.  And in the right humour, a two or three year old child will brighten the day of everyone whose path she crosses.  But we’ve all seen a little one hit their limit with shopping and pitch the kind of fit that sends people fleeing.  Small children are curious, impulsive and emotional.  While those are great traits in the adults shopping with you, the don’t bode well for little ones.  They can lead to upset and injury.  But as a retailer, you can take steps to make your shop safer for those little tornado toddlers.  And it is in everyone’s best interest that you do.

Finger Protection

Anyone can get their fingers pinched in a door, but it’s more likely to be a child.  They just don’t have the awareness to keep their fingers out of harm’s way.  But you can install finger protection.  A finger protector is a sort of shield that prevents those little fingers from squeezing into the space between the hinged side of a door and the door frame.  Fingersafe Ireland make a range of door finger protectors to suit the doors to cafes, toilets and fitting rooms in shops.  Installing finger protectors from Fingersafe Ireland makes shopping safer for small children and less stressful for parents.

Baby Safety Seat

Stores that use trolleys with baby seats have already solved the problem of where baby can safely relax while parents shop.   But not all shops have trolleys.  Many clothing and accessory stores don’t have trolleys.  And more and more parents use baby slings and carriers to take their children out and about.  But where can they safely put their baby to try on clothes or make up samples?  Certainly not on the floor!  A baby safety seat is the answer.  And please remember that daddies take babies shopping and try on clothing too.  The men’s fitting rooms should have at least one unit with a baby safety seat.

Making shops safer for small children means their parents can relax and enjoy their shopping experience.  Relaxed parents can look around more, and that means they are likely to buy more.  Door finger protection and baby safety seats are a good investment that will pay off over time.

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Load Your Loading Bay with Wall Protection

Wall protection - Bay Warehouse

The loading bay isn’t an area that shoppers really study.  But they will notice if it looks damaged and run down.  A loading bay in bad shape doesn’t do much for staff morale either.  It is an area where a structure can suffer a lot of damage, and fixing it isn’t cheap or easy.  Protecting your loading bay with PVC corner protectors, steel bollards, aluminium checkerplate and other forms of wall protection is a good investment.  It saves both the expense of repairing physical damage and the damage done to a store’s image when any part of the structure looks neglected and run down.

The loading bay is a busy area.  Lorries can dinge the walls, and pallets can also knock against various surfaces.  And safety is an issue too.  You need quality non-slip flooring, and the area must be dry to protect both workers and merchandise.  It’s easy to focus on the flooring and overlook the walls.  But wall protection matters.

Finding the Best Wall Protection for Loading Bays

Corners are a vulnerable part of any structure, and they require a specific form of wall protection.  PVC corner protectors resist damage while looking good.  Corner protection is important throughout a store, and PVC corner protectors are an excellent solution for all areas.

Bollards can demarcate the loading area from the car park, keeping everyone safely where they should be.  They can also act as bumper rails to provide extra wall protection when they are positioned alongside a wall.  Galvanized steel bollards are super tough and can endure a lot of punishment.  They are suitable for outdoors and for sheltered areas.

Aluminium checkerplate is an environmentally friendly option that offers protection from moisture as well as knocks and dings.  It’s lightweight, so it is ideal for many situations.  The textured surface of aluminium checkerplate resists damage and keeps the surface looking fresh.  No need to paint or to worry.  Aluminium checkerplate comes in a range of sizes with thickness ranging from 2 mm to 4.5 mm.

Painting chipped walls repeatedly gets expensive, and it is difficult to keep up with damage if you have a busy loading bay.  Wall protection equipment such as PVC corner protectors, steel bollards and aluminium checkerplate can save a lot of grief over time.  They look great even if they regularly take a beating.  For low maintenance wall protection solutions, these three items are hard to beat.

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Picking the Right Speed Ramps Ireland

Speed ramps in car park in Ireland

People should know to drive very slowly through car parks, but the reality is that they need reminders.  Posting a speed limit clearly is essential, but it isn’t enough.  Most car parks need traffic calming products such as rubber speed ramps, speed cushions and traffic bollards.  Picking the right traffic calming products requires a bit of research and consideration.  You have options, more than you might realize.  So you need to know what traffic calming products are available and which will meet your car park safety needs.

First up, traffic calming products are not all created equal.  In fact, you have three distinct categories of traffic calming products that get lumped together.  Speed ramps, speed bumps and speed cushions are not the same.  They are designed to meet different needs.  Which you chose depends on what type of traffic will be going over them.

Speed Ramps, Speed Bumps and Speed Cushions

Speed ramps are designed to slow all traffic that crosses them.  If they are going in a lane that cars, bikes and pedestrians share, they should be sized to all bikes and pedestrians a flat space at the edge of the lane.  Rubber speed ramps come in a variety of heights and widths to suit different situations.  They are an improvement on cement speed bumps because they stand up to the elements and withstand wear and tear better.  Speed ramps are perfect for spots where you need cars to slow down, such as long straight stretches of lane in your car park.

Speed bumps are round rubber disks that can be installed on a traffic lane in a pattern that allows bikes and pedestrians to stay on a flat surface.  This is a good solution when you just need to give drivers a gentle reminder to slow down.  They give less of a jolt to a car than speed ramps do.  They can also be positioned alongside a traffic lane to act as a rumble strip or ‘buddy strip’ to get drivers’ attention if they veer out of their lane.  Traffic bollards are another way to keep cars in their lane.

Speed cushions are different.  They are designed to slow cars while allowing larger vehicles such as trucks to avoid them.  Speed cushions work in pairs.  They are a set of two large rectangles placed side by side so that ordinarily the wheels of a car would cross them, but it is possible for a driver to pull to the side so their tyres go on either side of the speed cushion.  Drives must slow do to that, so they achieve their purpose either way.  Speed cushions are good for lanes shared by cars and delivery trucks.  On public roads or at medical facilities, they allow ambulances to pass without the patient inside being jostled by a speed bump.

If you are responsible for car park safety, you’ll want to first study traffic flow through the area and consider what type of traffic uses what areas within the car park.  Then you can chose the optimum traffic calming products to promote safety.

Rubber Speed Ramps and more in our Car Parks & Traffic Range: crash barrier systems, post protectors, convex mirrors, bike racks and shelters.

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