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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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Finding the Right Nursing Home Wall Protection

Wall protection

With so many options on the market, how do you know which is the best nursing home wall protection?  Yes, it must offer excellent damage protection.  But it must also look appropriate.  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.  

Nursing home wall protection needs to be functional in two ways.  It must offer heavy duty wall protection, and it must also look homey rather than institutional.  Ideally it will also blend in with the hospital handrails and bed protectors.  The goal is really to serve the nursing home resident’s physical and emotional needs.  And an overly institutional atmosphere can cause residents to feel anxious and uncomfortable.

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.  It should be designed to provide the 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.  But it is equally important that things look right and contribute to a comfortable, welcoming environment for residents, many of whom would rather be in their own homes if that were a safe option for them.

Hospital Damage Protection That Looks Great

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.

Rub rails offer protection to walls where seating or other furniture or equipment is prone to repeated contact with the wall.  That contact leads to wear and tear, and can also cause more obvious damage if the wall is unprotected.  

Walls are not the only area of a nursing home that need hospital damage protection products.  Doors also get hit with trolleys.  And doors see a lot of wear and tear with people pushing them open.  Gradus Wall Protection Ireland also offers a range of PVC-u kickplates and pushplates for doors.  These can be colour coordinated with the nursing home wall protection.

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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, office or clinic safer and 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.

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 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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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

Speed ramp - Traffic calming products

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.

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How to Slow Traffic in a Medical Facility Car Park

Speed ramp car park

Car park facilities for medical facilities and care homes pose special challenges.  Pedestrians are generally ill or frail.  It isn’t safe to assume they are as alert to their surroundings as the general population.  Drivers are more likely to be upset.  Whether they are rushing to the A&E, going to their GP to get medical test results or visiting an elderly relative in hospice, they are preoccupied and distressed.  It’s an exceptionally dangerous combination of drivers and pedestrians.  But the right car park design and traffic calming products can make the car park outside your medical facility almost as safe as the treatment rooms inside it.

If your facility has an urgent care service or patients who arrive by ambulance, it makes sense to have two streams of traffic – regular and urgent.  Traffic bollards and good signage can make it clear which is which.  The regular traffic lane should have good speed ramps to keep people alert and encourage them to drive slowly.  The urgent traffic lane can have lower rubber speed ramps or none, depending on whether you are expecting ambulances bringing people in delicate condition.

Find the Right Traffic Calming Products

For regular GP surgeries, dental clinics and care homes, speed ramps are a good way to keep people to the speed limit.  Some types of facilities will see people tempted to park right up in front of the entrance doors rather than in an actual parking space.  Traffic bollards are effective at preventing people from blocking the doors.  You can also use a rows of traffic bollards as protection barriers to keep people from leaving their cars too close to the building.  This gives you a protected walkway for people approaching the entrance by walking along the building.  

Proper protection barriers are best in some situations.  The decision between traffic bollards and protection barriers really comes down to whether or not people need to cross the barrier.  You don’t want people forced to climb over protection barriers to reach your entrance.  But protection barriers are an excellent way to keep people off any landscaped areas outside your facility.

Because people are so distracted in these settings, it makes sense to invest in not only traffic calming products but some protective pieces for those times when someone manages to bump or ding some structure on your facility’s property.  Corner protectors are especially helpful, and protection barriers are invaluable.

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Why Your Car Park Needs Traffic Calming Products

Car Park Solutions

Your business might have only a small car park.  You might not be dealing with boy (and girl) racers tearing around it.  But you still need traffic calming products such as rubber speed ramps, traffic bollards and protection barriers.  Car parks are notorious places for fender benders.  There are a few reasons for that.  

Both drivers and pedestrians in your car park are distracted.  Drivers are looking for a parking spot and thinking about the errand they are running.  Pedestrians are also preoccupied with their shopping.  Either could be on their mobile phone or dealing with unruly children.  Your car park needs to be designed to focus their minds and guide them safely.  But the good news is that you can install some basic traffic calming products without tearing up your car park.  It takes very little time to ensure your shop or restaurant car park is safer.  You don’t want your customers to be hurt, and you don’t want your company’s reputation to be hurt by reports of dangerous driving or injuries at your premises.  Here’s how you can improve your car park safety quickly and easily.

Simple Traffic Calming Products to Prevent Danger and Damage

Three key traffic calming products can transform your car park, making it safer and easier to navigate.  Best of all, you can have them installed with minimal disruption and mess.  You don’t need to tear the place apart.  

Traffic Bollards:  

You can use traffic bollards to create safe zones for pedestrians along the edge of your car park and to demarcate loading and pick up zones.  Choose from high visibility options such as yellow or reflective bollards.  Unlike crash barriers, bollards allow people to pass through them.  You can space them to either allow or prevent shopping trolleys from passing the line of bollards.

Speed Ramps:

Rubber speed ramps are a quick and easy solution to the problem of drivers failing to slow their speed adequately when they enter your car park.  Position them a short distance into your parking lot so people have a real chance to slow down.  Ideally, they can be placed so they do not abut parking spaces.  Rubber speed ramps and bumps come in a selection of heights.  Popular choices range from 50mm to 75 mm high.  Choose ones with safety yellow for maximum visibility and safety.

Protection Barriers:

A car dinging your building, shopping trolley bay, bike shelter or other structure once probably won’t do major damage.  But the wear and tear of countless small bumps adds up.  Over time, you could be looking at serious damage.  But metal protection barriers can prevent that.  Set up like fencing around structures you want to protect and the perimeter of your car park, they are unobtrusive yet highly effective protection.  

These three traffic calming products can make your car park safer for your visitors and your property.  They are three simple steps to a better business car park, and they are all completely customizable for your premises.