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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.

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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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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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

Concrete Speed Hump on a road, it's a type of speed ramp bump used in residential areas ireland

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.

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Hospital Damage Prevention: An Ounce of Prevention Is Less Expensive than a Pound of Cure

Hospital damage prevention

We all know the benefits of preventative health care.  It’s better to develop some healthy habits and prevent illness instead of waiting until you get sick to take action.  The same philosophy applies to hospitals and nursing homes.  Taking a proactive approach to hospital damage prevention is healthy for your facility’s finances.  And keeping everything in excellent condition sends the right reassuring message to patients and their loved ones.  But what equipment do you need to avoid healthcare damage problems in your building?  Three of the most critical items are bed protectors, corner guards and hospital handrails.

  • Bed Protector: Beds in hospitals and nursing homes need to be moved frequently for cleaning and to optimize the facility’s capacity.  But all that moving can mean beds get knocked into walls, and that can chip and damage the wall.  The damage might not be significant, but it gives a poor impression to patients and their loved ones.  Installing a wall-mounted hospital bed protector is a simple fix for this problem.
  • Corner Guard: Hospital corridors are full of awkward traffic.  Trolleys, laundry carts and various pieces of medical equipment are moved from room to room, sometimes with great urgency.  It is inevitable that they will occasionally hits walls and corners.  Corners are particularly vulnerable.  High impact corner guards protect against damage to the wall and the equipment that strikes it.
  • Hospital Handrails:  By definition, the patients in a hospital or nursing home are not enjoying robust physical health while they are there.  Some are elderly, and others have had surgery or a major illness.  Most are unsteady on their feet.  Hospital handrails offer safety to those who don’t really need another person to assist them walking but aren’t entirely safe on their feet.  Installing hospital handrails in corridors and ward rooms, including in and around toilet facilities, is one of the many ways you can look after those in the care of your facility.

Bed protectors, corner guards and hospital handrails are three critical ways to prevent and minimize the risk of various types of accidents in your facility.  Hospital wall guards are another option for hospital damage prevention.   As we know, an ounce of prevention is a lot easier and less expensive than a pound of cure.

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Your Car Park Is Their First Impression

When customers arrive at your location, the very first thing they encounter is your car park. It is not enough to have clearly marked parking spaces outside your shop or venue.  You need to consider traffic flow, pedestrian safety and the overall appearance.  Customers need to be able to get in and out of parking spaces easily and to walk from their car to your entrance (and back) safely.  Creating a safe, attractive and easily navigated car park shows customers you care about their experience at your business.  It enhances your brand in their eyes.

What Does Your Business Car Park Need?

Creating a safe environment for drivers and pedestrians when visiting your car park is paramount. People should see at a glance which way traffic should be flowing through the car park.  Traffic calming measures such as speed ramps and hi visibility posts and signage should be in place to reduce speeds to the desired limit within the car park. Protecting the overall appearance of your premises from the day to day wear and tear of moving traffic is also important. Business owners and car park managers can protect the fabric of their property and landscape by installing rubber car stops (to prevent cars rolling into buildings), Corner protectors, bollards and crash barriers. These will also protect your building and any landscaping from careless drivers, saving you from costly repairs. The implementation of these measures will give a safe environment while keeping your premise’s looking newer for longer.

Safety matters.  It is an important part of your visitors’ overall experience.  In Ireland, with our short days in winter, lighting is very important.  Good lighting prevents accidents and reassures visitors.  It also deters vandalism and anti-social activity.  Speed bumps also prevent accidents.  Drivers hate being surprised by them, so it is important that your speed bumps are highly visible.  Visitors also need a clearly marked route from where they have parked to your entrance and exit.

Your business car park is more than just a convenience for your customers.  Remember, in Ireland many people are opting to shop at retail outlets outside of town centres because it is so much more convenient to park in a designated lot than to search for a spot in a crowded street.  Your car park is an overlooked but important part of your visitors’ experience, so you want it to be good!