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Safety Barrier Comparison 2021

Choosing the right barrier guide, last thing you want is replacing barriers and bad building damage and repairs, or worse, an accident

1. Safety

Visibility

Quite simply, your best defence in a fast moving environment is being seen.

High visibility yellow barriers are critical for for worker and forklift driver safety, especially for protecting warehouse pedestrian walkways

A warehouse manager once said: “High visibility barriers changed our people’s awareness. They have consciously and subconsciously improved habits, which now results in far fewer impacts.”

The high visibility feature heightens awareness and reduces accidental impact damage. You should aim to create a culture of safety first with your employees.

A high-vis yellow guardrail will safely define and restrict pedestrian access to hazardous and dangerous areas.

Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Visibility
3/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Visibility
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Visibility
5/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Visibility
5/5

Accidents

Protruding edges, sharp corners, rough steel, chipped powder coat can cause undue harm and injury to personnel. The slightest nick to sensitive skin could mean an infection to the staff member.

reduce worker accidents with plastic barriers, less trip hazard fixings, no sharp corners, keep your people safe

The soft rounded profile that an HDPE flexible barrier offers, is far less likely to cause injury to your people.

Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Accidents
3/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Accidents
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Accidents
4/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Accidents
5/5

Protection

“Barrier coverage” describes the surface area a barrier protects. In most countries, the minimum height for safety barriers/guardrails is 900mm from the floor.

How much does protection coverage or safety area does my barrier give my workers? Barrier forks can be very dangerous, HSA reccomends heavy duty barriers for forklift areas

Some barriers have ground level protection beams, some have double level protective beams, and some have a full height (usually up to 1100mm high)

Light duty hoop barriers do not perform well in the case of protection coverage – they are primarily used for delineation, highlighting and restricting access.

Steel crash barrier guardrails fair well in this category. With different posts available, beams can be positioned at different heights, there’s also a handrail add-on. Steel Crash Barrier/Guardrail Guide

HDPE Barriers will give you maximum protection levels, for example, warehouse pedestrian walkways.

Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Protection
4/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Protection
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Protection
1/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Protection
5/5

2. Damage & Collisions

Durability

“Durability is the ability to withstand wear, pressure, or damage, without significant deterioration in quality”

How long will my barrier last? Well, that depends on a few external factors.

Which barrier you choose depedns on the area, forklifts need heavy duty, trolleys need light duty. Image shows light duty steel walkway barrier

Steel barriers: Ask yourself, are the barriers galvanised, is it likely to rust, is it powder coated, or painted? How thick, and what grade steel has been used to manufacture the barrier?

Polymer barrier: Stronger than steel and independently tested for impact. Is the product UV stabilised, what life span can I expect? Also, familiarise internal components and design.

As part of your Health and Safety policy, you should implement a regular check on the integrity of the barrier systems. Has there been a major impact? Do you need to replace the system or call your local maintenance team?

Barrier impact test report example excerpt:
“equivalent to an impact from a 6,500 lb [2948 kg] vehicle traveling at 4.5 mph [7.2 km/h]. In testing, the barrier was subjected to higher loadings and further deflections.”

Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Durability
4/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Durability
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Durability
1/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Durability
5/5

Vehicle Protection

Forklifts and material handling equipment are an expensive investment, consider the damage a barrier type may inflict on your machinery.

Inexperienced and under-trained forklift operatives are one of the most dangerous hazards to your staff, vehicles and property.

Impacts and accidents are inevitable, therefore selecting a hi-vis polymer safety barrier that doesn’t have acute corners or hard edges will minimise superficial damage to your forklift.

Steel on steel impact = scratches to both vehicle and the barrier.

Image of forklift safely impacting flexible safety barrier, steel barriers would damage your forklift and result in costly repairs
Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Vehicle Protection
2/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Vehicle Protection
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Vehicle Protection
3/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Vehicle Protection
5/5

Impacts

Different impact barriers will absorb deflected impacts at varying angles better than others.

When deciding what barrier, assess what traffic, is it pedestrian, forklift or trolley? If forklift traffic route, install a heavy duty barrier

To simplify the impacts that may be happening in your premises, prepare a risk assessment – label the type of impact into light, medium or heavy impact.

  • LIGHT impact is classed as general wear & tear from pedestrian or light goods trollies
  • MEDIUM impact is a stacked pallet truck
  • HEAVY impact is a forklift, van or truck
Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Deflected & Direct Impacts Defence
4/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Deflected & Direct Impacts Defence
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Deflected & Direct Impacts Defence
2/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Deflected & Direct Impacts Defence
5/5

3. Upkeep & Hygiene

Maintenance

Maintenance is an integral part of every business.

Is the barrier scratched – can you repaint it with the matching colour?

Do you need to touch up rust spots?

barrier maintenance is costly, repairs, etc. Assign staff to do regiular barrier checks. Is pint it visible, it it loose? Is it safe?

If you choose the latest polymer designs, then a quick wipe of clean damp cloth will drastically cut your maintenance budgets over time and keeps your premises looking newer for longer.

As part of your Health and Safety policy, you should implement a regular check on the integrity of the barrier systems. Has there been a major impact? Do you need to replace the system or call your local maintenance team?

A maintenance manual (O&M manual) should be a key part of your companies safety policy.

Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Maintenance
3/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Maintenance
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Maintenance
2/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Maintenance
5/5

Material Types

“Decisions decisions – should I choose a metal barrier or a polymer barrier?”

Ask yourself, will the barrier contribute to your overall health and safety policy.

Barrier material types as follows: PVC, HDPE flexible, steel galvanised, powder coated steel

Polymer HDPE Barriers are the preferred option especially where hygiene is at the forefront eg. pharmaceuticals, food & drink processing, healthcare, cosmetic manufacturing industries to name a few.

Contamination is a constant worry, so pick a product that is easy to keep clean.

Traditional metal barriers may have slight corrosion, starting to chip (flaky paint), and often get overlooked if a regular cleaning schedule is not maintained.

Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Material
3/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Material
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Material
4/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Material
5/5

Building & General Repairs

Heavy duty impacts will likely ‘rip up’ your floor.
Industrial grade floors are extremely expensive to install and expensive to repair (1sqm could cost up to €1,000)

Floor damage is common after a heavy duty barrier impact like a forklift hit, get floor protecting barriers

With this in mind, consider which barrier system is least likely to damage your floor following impact, and least likely to cost you unforeseen repair costs.

An incorrectly placed barrier is a serious subject, a collapsed wall or pallet rack could potentially be fatal, make sure this doesn’t happen.

Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Floor Protection
3/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Floor Protection
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Floor Protection
3/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Floor Protection
5/5

4. Installation

Difficulty

How difficult is it to install a Safety Barrier?
Naturally, this is heavily dictated by experience and training.

If you are familiar with power tools and can follow instructions, most maintenance persons can install a barrier without too much difficulty.

Installing safety barriers can be tricky. The qustions are, do you have the power tools, experience and training?

Considerations:
If I’m installing a steel barrier – how heavy it is? Do I need more than 1 person to assist in manoeuvring the material?

Should I use a ‘bolt down’ fixture, or invest in a ‘cast in’ option…

What is the substrate type? Is the substrate in good condition. Are there underlying services to be aware of.

Do I have the required power tools, if I don’t, how much will it cost to hire or purchase new ones? Do I need specialist equipment – do I need a cert to use specialist equipment.

Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Ease Of Install
1/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Ease Of Install
4/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Ease Of Install
5/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Ease Of Install
2/5

Creating Perimeters

A Standard Metal Hoop Barrier is not usually considered modular – as it is usually fabricated in single units. Add on mods are generally installed ‘side by side’.

The graphic below shows a modular forklift barrier protecting an extra-large warehouse structural column where a standard column guard wouldn’t fit. 

Modular barriers basically accomodate and space or perimeter as you so please, extra large columns need modular barriers as standard column protection doesn't fit

“Modular – constructed with standardised units or dimensions for flexibility and variety in use”

Both the heavy-duty crash barrier and the polymer barriers are considered modular. You can adjust the lengths required during installation. There are accessories available to create bends, returns and terminal ends.

Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Modular
3/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Modular
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Modular
1/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Modular
4/5

Removability

Can I re-use and relocate an existing barrier if I decide to re-organise my premises.
What fixings / installation has been used. Will my floor be ok if I relocate a barrier?

Choose a removable barrier that lends itself to future relocation, over a static solid option.

Removing or relocating a barrier can be tough. What installation type, what anchor type? Do you have power tools? Will the floor break, can I repair it?

In the pharmaceutical industry, warehouse space is often downsized to make room for new laboratory space. Laboratory space is more profitable.

Steel guardrail protection, assets, buildings, vehicles, heavy duty anti rust, perfect for external use
Removability
2/5
Steel perimeter barrier for warehouse, this has removable beams for access. Ideal for protecting critical buidling controls, lodaing bay switches, downpipes
Removability
3/5
Yellow hoop barrier, powder coated safety barrier. Modular cheap solution
Removability
4/5
Yellow flexible safety barrier, ideal for forklift protection. Certified impact tested
Removability
5/5

5. Conclusion & Price Range

In conclusion, check out the barrier assessment cheat sheet below, this will give you an understanding of when to use what barrier type where.

Remember, safety is paramount in every business, and barriers are just the tip of the iceberg but why not start here.

Author notes: Regardless of which barrier you choose, the ultimate performance is determined by the adequacy of the surrounding ground.

If you are implementing a full warehouse safety policy, you should always perform a Risk Assessment and consult a professional safety expert.
This content is provided for informational and guidance purposes only.

Barrier Assessment Cheat Sheet

Armco barrier end cap protecting pedestrians from sharp edges in a warehouse. End cap supplier, for sale in Ireland.

Heavy Duty Crash Barrier

Material: Plain galvanised steel 3mm

Price Range: Budget – Mid

Application: Car parks, service yards, perimeter protection, rack ends

Warehouse protection barrier/yellow steel guard in a warehouse, walkway perimeters, machine guard, delineate workers, safety zone

Yellow Hoop Barrier

Material: Mild steel, powder coated

Price Range: Budget – Mid

Application: Delineation, light-duty impacts

Steel warehouse barrier for protecting switchboards and electrical controls in ireland

Galvanised Steel Access Barrier

Material: Galvanised & powder coated

Price Range: Budget-Mid

Application: Mechanical & electrical control protection (e.g loading bay switches, downpipes, etc)

Warehouse protection barrier_ireland being tested by forklift impact

Polymer Flexible Barrier

Material: Polymer with iron core and rubber damper floor protection technology

Price Range: High-end Certified

Application: Suited to almost every aspect of your premises that requires heavy-duty protection and the utmost safety

Need exact prices or barrier advice?

Picture of staff bollard suppliers in Dublin warehouse
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Wall, Corner, Door & Handrail Protection Guide 2021

What Causes Wall Damage & Maintenance?

Everyday damage to hospital interiors and corridor walls is typical, we would class these impact types as medium-duty:  pedestrians, wheelchairs, beds, chairs, trolleys, luggage and mobile equipment.

The constant maintenance, repair and refurbishment of paintwork, plasterwork, woodwork and damaged doors aren’t just frustrating and expensive, it can also lead to an accident or fall, dirt and bacteria.

Wall Collisions and Impacts Types Explained

Direct:
• Points of impact easily identifiable
• Damage is obvious and occurs in predictable patterns
• Commonly specified in existing buildings
• Suitable solution for refurbishment projects where the damaged areas are known

Indirect:
• Damage is difficult to predict
• Types and levels of traffic are unknown
• Commonly specified in new buildings
• Suitable for new builds where damage is trickier to predict

Wall Damage & Repairs

Why repair damaged healthcare walls?

A wall surface that is not smooth is not cleanable and is also an infection and bacteria concern. Damaged materials must be repaired or replaced to provide a cleanable hygienic surface.

 

Nursing Home Wall protection Article

How much does it cost to repair a damaged wall?

The price to hire a handyman or wall repair contractor for standard wall damage repair:

  • Materials €20 – 50
  • Approx 4 hours/€45 per hour = €180
  • Total Cost = €230

Types of Impact Protection and Damage Prevention

Hospital impact protection is designed to deflect impact and warn of extruding corners, edges, and vulnerable walls. They are used in many different hospital and healthcare receptions and corridors to help prevent injury, dirt leading to infection, protect walls and help prevent wear & tear.

Door Protection

‘Fully Clad’ with SureProtect Endure® thermoformed / post formed edges applied to new doors by the door manufacturer. The provision of intumescent fire and smoke seals provided by the door manufacturer. Usually formed and bonded by one of a door specialist

Custom PVC door protection and kick plates are 2mm thick and manufactured from impact-resistant PVC-u which is through-coloured and textured to conceal the effects of impact and abrasion. It is easy to clean and provides a cost-effective way to reduce maintenance costs and maintain the appearance of a building. Available in 35 standard colours. SureProtect Endure can be used in sheet form for total wall coverage or can be cut into rub rails or kick plates, or into bespoke designs.

It can also be thermoformed to produce bespoke profiles such as corner guards, column guards or door edge and door frame protectors.

Steel door handle push plates, perfect for schools, pharmaceutical and healthcare to retail, commercial office, leisure and hospitality.

Specification

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Dimensions: length: 350mm x width: 75mm
  • Thickness:1.5mm

Steel door kick plates, perfect for schools, pharmaceutical and healthcare to retail, commercial office, leisure and hospitality.

Specification

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Thickness:1.5mm

Handrails & Bumper Rails

What Are Bumper Rails?

Bumper rails or crash rails play a vital role in protecting walls as they dissipate impact energy along the length of the rail, without compromising the wall fixings.

Visibility

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 contrasts 30 points different from the surrounding surface

Guidance

Meet the guidance for distance from the wall and bracket clearance. British Standard Health Building Notes 00-04 and 00-10 (Department of Health Estates & Facilities)

Anti-bacterial

Reveals should be assembled tight, have neat joints and contain an anti-microbial agent to inhibit the growth of bacteria

Certified

Dementia Design Accredited Product. Products are designed to help meet specification guidelines including British Standard Building Regulations 2010 -Approved Document M and Approved Document K; BS 8300-2:2018, HBN 00-09 and HBN 00-03

Crash Rail

Ideally, pick a handrail & bumper rail combo that offers both direct and indirect protection against impacts from chairs, and wheeled/pedestrian traffic

Grip

Meet guidance for dimensions in relation to grip diameter, and choose a material that isn't cold to grip

Wall Guards & Strips

What is a wall guard?

A wall guard is a wall protection product designed to protect the length of a wall, such as a hallway or a corridor, from damage. … These items are commonly referred to as bumper guards, wall guards, crash rails, or chair rails depending on the manufacturer

Guards (Green)

  • A modular system comprising PVC-u covers, aluminium retainers and PVC-u accessories
  • Reveals provide tight, neat joints and contain an anti-microbial agent to inhibit the growth of bacteria
  • Replaceable, through-coloured, easy-to-clean covers
  • Continuous retainer provides rigid support whilst allowing the cover to flex, absorbing the effects of an impact

Strips (Orange)

  • Can be used along the entire length of a wall or cut down into kickplates or push plates
  • Scratch and stain resistant PVC-u is through-coloured and textured to conceal the effects of impact and abrasion
  • Available with tape for quick and easy installation, or without tape for installing with a suitable adhesive
  • Light-duty

Hygienic Cladding & PVC Wall Protection Panels

Specifically developed for areas where cleanliness and hygiene is a priority, SureProtect Pure® creates an impermeable barrier to moisture and bacteria. The smooth, easy to clean surface is an excellent hygienic alternative to ceramic tiles, removing the need for grout which can harbour bacteria. SureProtect Pure® is manufactured from PVC-u material that has been extensively tested to ensure suitability in hygienic environments. The product adheres to guidance set out in The Health Building Note 00-09 and the Food Standards Agency, making it the perfect solution for healthcare environments and commercial kitchens. It is also ideal for sport and leisure facilities, food manufacturing environments, pharmaceutical laboratories, dentist practices, veterinary surgeries and bathrooms.

SureProtect Endure® PVC-u sheet is through coloured and textured to conceal the effects of impact and abrasion. It can be specified as a stand-alone product or be combined with other Gradus wall protection products to create a comprehensive protection system. Specifying SureProtect Endure® helps to reduce the need to repair and re-paint wall surfaces and with minimal maintenance, optimises the appearance retention of the building interior. It is commonly specified in environments exposed to high levels of pedestrian traffic such as corridors and circulation areas, canteens, classrooms and waiting areas.

PVC rub rails can be used to provide a cost-effective solution to protect entire wall lengths or surfaces exposed to impact and abrasion. They can also be used to protect walls behind items such as tables and chairs, to prevent damage occurring from furniture movement. 

Modern and stylish in appearance, SureProtect Design® highlights building interiors whilst still offering excellent surface protection. Finishes include wood effects, metals and bespoke prints to accommodate any interior design theme. Ideal for applications where aesthetics is important such as reception areas, leisure facilities, hotel lobbies, retirement homes and university campuses.

Corner & Bed Head Protection

Bed head protector bumper guards for hospitals and nursing homes, prevent wall and machinery damage

Why not check out our hospital protection range: wall strips, handrails, door protection, hygienic cladding, stainless steel protectors and

Hospital protection video case study, courtesy of Gradus Limited

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Finding the Right Nursing Home Wall Protection

Nursing home wall protection products in situ, door plate, bed wall protector, wall guard

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.

Hospital Interior Protection 2021 Guide

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.

Healthcare Wall Protection Range

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

Healthcare Protection Fit-out courtesy of Gradus Limited

Hygiene & Performance

Reception PVC Cladding

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.

Healthcare Wall Protection Range

Decorative & Hospital Damage Protection

Stainless steel wall bumper guard installed on wall in a hospital corridor in Dublin.

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.

Picture of SVL team in warehouse - with prices, quote call to action text? Ireland suppliers

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.

Healthcare Wall Protection Range

 

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Creating A Safer Forklift Environment

Combi Crash Barrier stopping a forklift
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.

Vision

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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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

Finger Protectors kids Safety, baby changers, units and tables, restaurant high chairs

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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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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Always Mind the Bollards!

Protection bollards

Bollards are one of those safe features we see everywhere but rarely think about.  If you are developing a car park, however, you do need to think about bollards.  You need to think a lot about traffic calming, car park equipment and car park delineator systems.  Whether you are creating a new car park or redesigning an existing car park, you need to have a system to guide cars and pedestrians safely through the area.  To accomplish that, you will need car park equipment such as bollards.  But did you realize how many different kinds of bollards and parking posts are available?

Directional bollards indicate which way traffic should flow.  In a larger car park, it needs to be completely obvious to drivers which route they must take through the car park.  And remember, they are distracted.  They are looking for a parking spot, watching other traffic, thinking about what they will do once they park and possibly dealing with distractions in the car such as children or pets.  So making the way clear with directional bollards is helpful.  Directional bollards are a practical traffic calming measure that makes it easier for patrons to navigate the car park safely.

Bollards as Damage Prevention Solutions

Protection bollards should be put where drivers are most likely to misgauge distance and bump into a building or other structure such as a bike rack.  You can put protection bollards adjacent to the building, the bike rack, the trolley area and lamp posts to ensure cars don’t bump into them.  Protection bollards are a cost-effective way to prevent expensive damage.

In some situations, it is inevitable that cars will tap or bump the bollards.  In those cases, flexible posts or plastic bollards are ideal.  They can take a beating and remain functional.  Plastic bollards are good for very tight spaces because you don’t want customers to worry about damaging their car while squeezing through.  And flexible posts are good if you have a problem with cars speeding through your car park.  Traffic calming measures are essential in that situation, and flexible car park posts can be part of a broader traffic calming strategy.

Bollards are an important piece of car park equipment.  They play a critical role in traffic calming and damage prevention.  Most car parks can benefit from a mix of directional bollards and protection bollards to ensure that traffic flows smoothly and safely through.