The Importance of a Secure Loading Dock Environment

The Importance of a Secure Loading Dock Environment 

Loading Dock Security can be critical to the goods manufactured, sorted, or stored at a facility. It is especially important for facilities within the industries of Food & Beverage and Pharmaceutical. These industries are responsible for providing goods to consumers that could be critical to their wellbeing and are required to be safe for consumption. If their goods were to be compromised it could result in serious health implications for individuals and even potential death.  

Therefore, protecting and securing the goods transported at the loading dock is of the utmost importance to safely deliver goods of high quality to consumers.  

 

The Loading Dock 

loading dock for industries

The loading dock is an influential piece of every company transporting goods to consumers, distributors or end users that connects the inside workings of a facility to the outside world. It is important that the loading dock is a secure as possible to prevent serious events from occurring that could impact not only the company but individuals’ health and safety.  

 

 

 

 

 

Cargo Theft 

Unfortunately, stealing cargo through an unsecure loading dock is a somewhat common event and can have a large impact on costs & profits. Worldwide, the direct cost of cargo theft exceeds $30 billion annually with indirect costs many times higher. (Ciso-Eagle 

Stolen pharmaceuticals specifically offer an extreme risk to both the company and the public. Many times, stolen drugs end up listed online on internet domains owned by criminal networks. Consumers may look to buy their prescriptions online which in some instances causes major risk. These stolen drugs are most often not stored properly under the necessary conditions needed to protect the medication. In other instances, stolen drugs may have been altered and contain hazardous substances.  The stolen now “diverted” drugs not only put consumers at risk but also have major implications on the pharmaceutical brands image and reputation. (NCBI) 

 

Spoiled Goods   

Many goods and products, especially within the Food & Beverage and Pharmaceutical industries, are required to be stored within temperature-controlled environments. The quality of the food, beverage, or drug could be compromised if specific environmental temperature conditions are not met. It is crucial that air cooled or heated to a specific temperature to maintain the quality of the goods or products produces, sorted, or stored on site is not affected by opening and closing of the loading dock door.  

If the loading dock door is not secure and can be tampered with, it could alter the controlled temperature of the internal environment.  If the temperature is unknowingly altered, a facility could potentially incur thousands in costs within a mater of minutes.  

Costs can incur from spoiled and wasted goods and energy costs generated by the altered heated or cool air entering or leaving the facility. A change in temperature can cause bacteria to form, making the food no longer safe to eat.  

 

Debris and Outside Elements 

The loading dock connects the inside of the facility to the outdoor environment and elements. To mitigate the risk of rain, snow, dust, and insects from entering the openings at the loading dock, most docks are equipped with seals and shelters to help protect from the outside elements. Although the risk is mitigated with these types of solutions, they do not eliminate debris completely entering the facility. These debris have the potential to contaminate goods inside the facility and force companies to throw out affected goods. This in turn can cost companies thousands and even millions in lost product and time spent removing debris or outside elements that have made their way inside the facility.  

 

Securing the Loading Dock to Reduce the Risk  

It is important to properly secure the loading dock to reduce the risk of cargo theft, spoiled goods, and contamination. As mentioned previously, dock seals and shelters are a great way to protect your dock from these risks. Another way to secure your loading dock is ensuring that the dock door is closed when not in use. Some loading dock safety systems prevent the door from being opened unless a trailer is at the dock ready to be loaded or unloaded. This ensures the loading dock is safe, secure and that goods are protected.  

No matter how facilities choose to secure their loading dock it is critical to ensure the quality and safety of the goods manufactured, sorted, or stored as it can have massive implications on the public’s health & safety if not secured properly.  

 

Boiler Plate 

Kirk Key Interlock believes everyone has the right to be safe at work. We protect people and assets within the energy, industry, and logistics sectors. Our logistics solution, Salvo Loading Dock Safety System is a safe, secure, and simple solution that prevents accidental drive-aways at the loading dock. The safety solution interlocks the trailers airbrakes with the dock door, only allowing the dock door to open once that trailer is locked out and secured.  

For more information on Salvo Loading Dock Safety Systems email a loading dock safety expert at salvo@kirkkey.com. 

 

Are Your Loading Dock Safety System Maintenance Costs Cutting into Profit?

The loading dock is an essential part of any manufacturing company, warehouse, or distribution center. It is what allows the process of raw materials to enter and completed goods to be transported to consumers and end users. Unfortunately, the loading dock can be a hazardous environment where accidents can occur. It is estimated that 25% of all industrial accidents happen at the loading dock according to ISHN.

To mitigate the risk of accidents, organizations often invest in loading dock safety systems to mitigate the risk of accidents or injury at the loading dock. A variety of systems can be found on the market to prevent these incidents such as hook restraints, wheel chocks, blocking arms, and interlocking gladhand systems.

Logistics loading

Organizations often invest in these systems to avoid accidental injuries at the dock and spend anywhere from thousands to millions for a corporate or site wide roll out of one of these systems. Companies expect these systems to be a one-time investment that will prevent them from incurring the costs associated with a workplace injury or potential death.

What companies don’t expect is the high recurring maintenance costs associated with some types of loading dock safety systems.
Loading dock safety systems typically fall into the categories below and can vary in maintenance costs:

Automatic Wheel Restraints: Automatic wheel restraints such as powered chocks perform in a similar way to mechanical chocks; however, they are automatic and thus require no personnel in the yard to fit it. They are also integrated with other dock equipment which ensures that a safe process is enforced. Some systems are built in at sub ground level and therefore require significant installation effort, these can also be significantly affected by the elements. Systems that are installed above ground become an obstacle, especially in winter.

Like mechanical chocks, relatively high maintenance costs can be associated with these systems due to the number of moving parts, concrete work associated with damaged equipment, and the time associated with clearing snow/ice in harsh weather conditions.

Hook Restraints: Hook restraints can be manual or automatic systems that prevent drive aways at the loading dock. The hook restraint is installed at the dock door and when a truck is present, the hook is engaged and clamps onto the ICC bar of the vehicle to prevent the trailer to pull away from the dock prematurely.

Hook restraint systems can require significant maintenance due to the number of moving parts, hydraulics, damage to equipment, and high forces involved in restraining the vehicle at the loading dock.

Mechanical Chocks/Wheel Restraint: Mechanical chocks build upon the principle of manual chocks however they typically have additional permanent structure that they are fitted to which provides increased restraining force. If the permanent structure is higher than ground level, these can become an obstacle, especially in winter when ploughing the site. Ground level plates can also be affected by winter conditions as they become covered in snow/ice, making it difficult to fit the chock.

There can be high maintenance costs associated with this these types of restraint systems due to the number of moving parts, damage to permanent structures, and the time associated with clearing snow/ice in harsh weather conditions.

Manual Chocks: Manual chocks are common, simple wedges of material that are placed closely against a vehicles wheel to prevent accidental drive aways.

Chocks can be unreliable as they can easily be lost, stolen or break. Maintenance cost for manual chocks include complete product replacements and can vary due to the number of sets of chocks the facility owns.

Interlocking Gladhands: Gladhand devices are used to lock out the air brake of the trailer to prevent movement at the loading dock. When gladhand devices are interlocked with the dock door with fixed mounted trapped key interlock devices, they can create a sequential safety process that must be followed to load and unload the trailer that results in the prevention of drive aways at the loading dock.

Maintenance costs associated with these systems are minimal as the only maintenance required is the greasing of the gladhand coupling device once per year depending on the temperature of your facility’s location.

In the below chart, common loading dock safety systems are ranked from the highest to lowest associated maintenance costs for a facility with 25 loading bays over the time period of one year:

Logistics loading

As you can see, some safety solutions require more maintenance than others, resulting in high costs that cut into the facility’s profit. If you and your facility find yourself in the position of continually having to maintain components, replaced damaged equipment, order replacements, and spend entirely too much time and money on your loading docks safety system, it is time to reconsider your existing system.

Safety at the loading shouldn’t cause additional headaches, it should be simple, safe, and low maintenance. Lucky for you, there are other options than your existing solution that won’t cut into your facilities profit.


Kirk Key Interlock believes everyone has the right to be safe at work. We protect people and assets within the energy, industry, and logistics sectors. Our logistics safety solution, Salvo Loading Dock Safety System, prevents accidental drive-aways at the loading dock by interlocking the trailers airbrakes with the dock door.

For more information on Salvo Loading Dock Safety Systems email a loading dock safety expert at salvo@kirkkey.com.

Logistics in the Spotlight: The Safety Implications of the Current Supply Chain Backlog & Driver Shortage

Lately, the logistics industry and supply chains have been receiving more media attention than ever, unfortunately it’s not for the best reasons. With headlines in the media such as “Supply Chain Crisis Risks Taking Global Economy Down With It”, “No End in Sight for the COVID-Led Global Supply Chain Disruption” and “Truck driver Shortage Worsens Supply Chain Backlog” there’s no wonder consumers are concerned.

In this article, we will address why the logistics industry is seeing this history making backlog, the impact it is having, what is being done to address the issue and the implications on safety.

Why the backlog?

For decades, the logistics industry has operated quietly in the background of the global supply chain, ensuring goods are transported from manufacturers to consumers dodging the spotlight, their impact going unnoticed. Why has the logistics industry recently been brought to light and the spotlight intensified through the media’s lens?

Growth in Ecommerce

Ecommerce is growing at a rapid pace and manufacturers, warehouses, and logistic companies are trying to keep up with consumer’s demand. An article in Inside Intelligence forecasts US retail ecommerce sales will grow 13.7%, reaching $908.73 billion in 2021. This increase in ecommerce has resulted due to many reasons and does not look to be slowing anytime in the future.

Covid – 19

The global covid-19 pandemic played a large part in many issues that are affecting logistics and the global supply chain. Consumers have been slowly changing their purchasing habits over the last few years due to convenience and time savings. However, the shift in ecommerce grew significantly due to the pandemic. The Inside Intelligence article goes on to say, “prior to the pandemic, we expected sales would grow just 12.8%.”  Due to social distancing guidelines and lockdowns many consumers couldn’t physically go to a store for months and in order for them to get what they needed it was necessary to begin shopping online. This increase in ecommerce is expected to continue with the global online retail volume predicted to grow at a rate of 15% until 2023, as stated in a Deloitte research article.

Logistics loading

In addition to changing consumer behaviors fueled by the pandemic, entire work forces were contracting the virus resulting in whole facilities having to shut down operations, further intensifying the difficulty to meet consumer demands. Restrictions and guidelines differ across the globe on positive Covid -19 test protocol; these positive test results have a massive effect on the company, profits, and even the global supply chain. For example, China partly shut down the world’s third busiest port after a single port worker tested positive for the virus back in August. The Meidong Terminal , where the employee worked, processes 25% of the cargo that passes through the Ningbo-Zhoushan port. Even a partial shutdown of a terminal had a large impact on the global shipping line. While this shutdown may seem severe, it is a prime example of how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the supply chain.

 

Decrease in International Air Traffic

With the global travel restrictions put in place during the pandemic, international air traffic became scarcer. Therefore, cargo typically stored in the cargo hold of passenger planes were halted in their travels, having a large impact in the transportation of international goods. This may not seem like it could have impacted the supply chain in a large way but in an article by the Global Economic Forum it states that 40% of annual global air cargo is typically transported in the cargo hold of passenger aircraft.” The article goes on to say, “The other 60% of annual global air cargo is usually moved around in dedicated freighter aircraft by freight forwarders and cargo operators. These cargo operations are primarily hub-focused and follow key trade routes, so are less comprehensive than passenger air networks.”

Labor shortage

The labor shortage is visible throughout the entire global economy and is the result of several factors. A news article by CNBC looks at what factors are contributing to the shortage globally. In the US, they believe that families have built up savings buffers and don’t have urgency to return to work. Additionally, it is believed that “there is a more permanent loss of workers driven by a large number of older workers taking early retirement. The thought of returning to the office and the daily commute may seem unpalatable for many people and with surging equity markets having boosted 401k pension plans, early retirement may seem a very attractive option.”

The article goes on to say that in the UK the labor shortage has been “exacerbated by Brexit, with many foreign workers that the country relied on going back home during the pandemic.”

In Europe the labor shortage can be seen as well: “while concerns about labor shortages have started later than in the U.S. and are less pressing than in the U.K., they are increasingly mentioned as a concern for businesses.”

The shortage of labor is impacting various industries such as agriculture, warehousing, and logistics. Farmers are having to let food go to waste because they do not have the help they need to process it in a timely manner. In an episode of The Guardian podcast, Today in Focus, they discuss a UK pig farmer who was not able to process his hogs at the correct age due to a lack of workforce. Unfortunately, this has been seen at meat processing plants throughout the globe and has contributed to meat shortages. Additionally, with agriculture margins so tight, farmers not only aren’t profiting off of their hard work, but they are losing money.

Warehouses are struggling to operate with reduced staff, adding to the supply chain backlog issue. There are simply not enough workforce resources to operate at their normal pace resulting in increased loading/unloading times at loading bays and trailers having to wait to be unloaded/loaded.

Not only are delays present at the warehouses but often delays are likely when transporting goods to the warehouse facilities due to the global driver shortage. Without the drivers, goods are not able to be transported to their end users further intensifying the backlog. “There are several reasons for the shortage” explains The Guardian podcast, “this has been an existing issue with an older workforce, and we’ve seen a lack of younger drivers entering this field.” In France too they are experiencing similar issues. A BFM Business article states, “In France there is a shortage of transportation professionals amounting to 50,000 people.” Making an existing issue worse, long training times, less than comfortable accommodations, extended periods away from family, and a global pandemic does not help recruit the new drivers needed to alleviate the issue. The BFM Business article continues, “Salaries and working conditions are making these trades are no longer attractive.”

The impact and what is being done about it

Unfortunately, the backlogs, shipping delays and supply chain constraints have had and will continue to have massive effects on consumers. Efforts have been made to address some of the effects, but will it be enough? Only time will tell.

New Staff

Take a drive through town and you’re bound to see several “We’re Hiring” signs posted on billboards and storefront windows in an effort combat the labor shortage that so many are experiencing.

Due to the difficulty of finding skilled workers, companies are often willing to hire workers with little or no experience. Hiring these new staff members may alleviate their labor issues for the time being but could potentially be creating another issue around workplace safety.

Low Stock

High levels of demand, labor shortages, and a lack of transportation means have resulted in low stock levels of goods throughout the globe. Food, supplies, metals and lumbar shortages have been present the last several months, at times worse than others, and very noticeable to consumers.

To resolve this issue government agencies have extended port operating hours around the clock to help elevate the backlog, for example in the US, the Biden administration has recently announced that two major shipping ports on the west coast will operate 24/7 to alleviate some of the bottleneck. The Los Angeles and Long Beach California ports account for about 40% of the US cargo container imports, according to an article in United Press International. In addition, the decreased HGV driver training time and other incentives are part of the effort to attract new drivers to the industry to transport goods to consumers. Wage increases have also been seen throughout the globe to attract individuals to work to kickstart the supply chain and ensure the goods arriving at the ports reach the consumers shelves.

port loading

Price Increases

Not only have items been hard to come by on the shelves but when consumers do happen to find what they are looking for, they will have to pay a higher price than what they used to.

A large reason for this is the increase in wages to help attract workers. However, when companies do raise wages, they are not able to absorb the costs within the company. Therefore, they need to raise prices for consumers to stay afloat.

A variety of other issues have led to increasing prices as well. An article from CNN states, “A growing list of crises on the supply side has exacerbated the commodities crunch. The Suez Canal blockage delayed goods shipments in March. Drought in South America has weighed on corn and sugar output. A deep freeze in Texas and the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack tightened the market for plastic and fuel, while India’s Covid-19 outbreak disrupted ports and supply chains.”  “It’s really been a perfect storm” says Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING.

Long Lead Times

As you can imagine, all the issues previously discussed are causing in long lead times around the globe. “The time it takes to ship an item from Asia to the United States has roughly doubled — 15 days by air, 90 by sea — during the pandemic” states Neel Jones Shah, global head of airfreight for Flexport, a logistics technology company.  “The backlog, coupled with labor shortages and pandemic-related shutdowns at every point in the process, has led to months-long waits for electronics, furniture and other imports. Shippers are scrambling to figure out how to get their goods to market in time for the Christmas selling season.”

If children are asking for that special gift for the upcoming holidays, now is the time to purchase. Lead times are increasing, and experts suggest that holiday shopping should happen earlier this year than ever. “There’s no logical way that everyone is going to find what they want in time for Christmas,” said Isaac Larian, chief executive of MGA Entertainment, the toy giant behind Rainbow High and such popular lines as L.O.L. Surprise and Little Tikes. “Everything is up the air.”

Implications on Safety

As you can see, the impact of the supply chain backlog and driver shortage is having a large effect on consumers. While governments and companies have made steps to try to address these issues, such as decreasing the time it takes to train HGV drivers and increasing the number of hours they can drive on the road before requiring a break, they could be creating an additional issue while trying to address another.

Truck on road

The labor shortage, particularly with truck drivers and warehouses personnel, coupled with the increase in the demand for ecommerce, could have massive implications on safety. With new drivers on the road being trained in a shorter amount of time, the number of risks increase for both the driver and people sharing the road. While the shorter training time opens up additional testing spots for individuals to take the test needed to become an HGV drive, it also means that learning crucial skills have been removed from the test. A BBC article states “The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is concerned that changes like removing the reversing maneuver from the test – which makes it shorter – and assessing it separately is a step backwards when it comes to safety.” Further in the article Andrew Malcom, chief executive of the UK based logistics company The Malcolm Group, states “In principle, I can understand what they’ve done, to try to unlock test dates. However, I am seriously concerned about the safety aspect. I think they’ve cut far too much out the process of the test – that’s my biggest worry.”

With limited labor resources and increased demand, coupled with the pressure facilities are continuously faced with to perform at high levels of throughput, safety risks emerge. To meet daily quotas, warehouse personnel need to work at a high speed which often results in shortcuts being made. The pressure to work more quickly, combined with drivers working long hours with less experience will have an impact on safety, especially at the loading dock. An article from Industrial Safety & Hygiene News (ISHN) states “Twenty-five percent of all industrial accidents occur at the loading dock. And for each accident that occurs, there are about 600 near-misses.” That statistic is prior to the increase in ecommerce demand, supply chain backlog, pandemic, and labor shortage, one can only imagine that statistic has increased since. To mitigate the risk of accidents at warehouse facilities between new HGV drivers and forklift operators, loading dock safety systems are strongly recommended to ensure clear communication during the loading and unloading process.

Conclusion

The supply chain backlog we are experiencing is the result of an increase in demand, a global pandemic, lack of transportation means, and a labor shortage all present at the same time. These issues have resulted in new staff, low stocked items, higher prices, and long lead times all which have implications on safety. While effort has been made by government leaders, agencies, companies, and individuals to reduce the effect these issues are having on the global economy, we may be seeing lasting safety implications as well as numerous other effects from the history making supply chain backlog and driver shortage of 2021 for years to come.

Case Study: Hero Logistics

Salvo™ Loading Dock Safety

Case Study: Hero Logistics

Salvo™ Loading Dock Safety

Hero Logistics creates a safe, secure, and worry-free
loading dock environment with Salvo

Hero Logistics started in 2006 at the Toyota plant in San Antonio, Texas as a freight shipping and trucking company. Since then, Hero Logistics has expanded into warehousing and now operates out of numerous facilities across the United States.

 

 

Challenge: Hero Logistics were looking to eliminate the risk of unscheduled drive-aways at the loading dovk with a cost effective, safe, and semi-permanent solution that met their facility’s needs.

Solution: Working with Salvo, Hero Logistics implemented a safety solution that prevented
unscheduled drive-aways at their loading dock and kept personnel safe while meeting facility requirements.

Results: Hero Logistics created a safe working environment at the loading dock for facility personal and eliminated the risk of human error at the loading dock.

 

 

“Most places have something in place to prevent
unscheduled drive-aways, but the Salvo Loading
Dock Safety System is the best solution I have
seen in action.”

Ron Ford
Manager, Hero Logistics
Laredo, Texas, USA

 

How a loading dock safety system created a safe, secure, and worry-free loading dock environment

In May 2014, Pierre Balson, at the time in the role of US Salvo Sales Manager, received a phone call from Hero Logistics. They were just beginning the search for a loading dock safety system to implement at their San Antonio, Texas location.

Hero Logistics were looking for a loading dock safety system that met the unique needs of their facility. They were on the search for a cost-effective solution that prevented unscheduled drive-aways from their loading docks, while still allowing for the warehouse doors to be open during Texas’s hot summer days. In addition, Hero Logistics leased their warehouse at the time and needed a loading dock safety solution that was semi-permanent and could be moved with them if they were to move locations.

Pierre recalled, “After Hero Logistics told me about the challenges they were facing at the loading dock, I knew the Salvo Loading Dock Safety System was the perfect fit. It met all of the needs Hero Logistics was looking to meet at their facility – low cost, safe, semi-permanent and could allow for the loading dock doors to remain open while still protecting employees from the fall from height risk.”

Following a site visit to the facility, Hero Logistics placed their first order for the Salvo Loading Dock Safety System. After a few months of using the system, Pierre received word that Hero Logistics was very pleased with the solution and that the system’s success would be shared with other sites within the region. The solution was keeping Hero Logistics personnel safe and eliminating unscheduled drive-aways at the loading dock.

Today, the Salvo Loading Dock Safety System is installed at several Hero Logistics locations, including the facility in Laredo, Texas.

When Ron Ford joined the Laredo, Texas location of Hero Logistics in the role of Manager, loading dock safety fell into his list of responsibilities. Ron was pleased to see that Hero Logistics prioritized safety and that a loading dock safety system was already installed at the 10 docks he was now responsible for.

“The thing I like the most about the Salvo Loading Dock Safety System is that we do not have to worry about a trailer or truck taking off early,” says Ron. “Knowing the trailers air brakes are locked out before the door can be used is a great comfort.”

With years of experience and seeing his fair share of near misses at the loading docks in previous roles, Ron understands the importance of safety and the dangers of the loading dock environment.

Ron stated, “Most places have something in place to prevent unscheduled drive-aways, but the Salvo Loading Dock Safety System is the best solution I have seen in action.”

Together, Hero Logistics and Salvo Loading Dock Safety Solutions have created a safe, secure, and worry-free loading dock environment that has eliminated unscheduled drive-aways and the risk of human error at the loading dock.

For more information about Salvo Loading Dock Safety Systems, contact us at salvosales@kirkkey.com.

Minimizing the Loss of Energy at the Loading Dock

Minimizing the Loss of Energy at the Loading Dock

Loading docks are essential for facilities movement of goods. It is what allows their goods to reach their customers, ultimately creating revenue for the company. While loading docks are critical to enabling profits, they can also incur high energy costs.

The High Cost of Energy Loss

Inefficient energy usage can occur within a warehouse facility in a variety of ways, but the loading dock provides a large opportunity for generated energy to become wasted and for money to literally be thrown out the door.

Warehouse facilities typically have numerous loading dock doors that are in use several hours a day, if not 24/7. Every second the dock door is open energy generated to produce the cool air or heat within the facility slips through the cracks.

This issue is especially present in cold storage warehouses where a significant amount of energy is used to keep the facility cool and preserve the quality of the goods.

An article from Star Refrigeration explains this further: “For a chilled facility at +2°C on a warm, humid day, where the ambient air is +32°C and 70% RH, air entering the building and being cooled to the +2°C condition requires around 100kJ/m3 of heat extraction. This corresponds to 100kW of energy per 1m3 of air entering the store. Assuming it is an efficient cooling system with a CoP of 3, this means 33kW of electrical energy is required to remove this heat – and at 6p/kWhr, this equates to a running cost of over £48 per day.”  That cost can accumulate quickly coming in at £17,520 annually.

In addition, the article goes on to say that if the goods were required to stay at a freezing temperature, such as -25C, the load and operating costs would increase by an additional 40%.

Sustainability Solutions

Solutions are available to prevent the loss of energy through loading dock doors and the high costs associated with it.  Loading dock seals and shelters are both relatively simple solutions that aid in temperature is control and minimize the amount of cool air or heat lost through the cracks of the trailer and dock. Seals are typically made from a foam material that compress when a trailer backs up to the dock during loading/unloading. This creates a suction like seal between the dock and trailer, limiting the cool air or heat escaping the warehouse.

Loading dock shelters also limit the amount of cool air or heat escaping the warehouse and are typically used at sites where there are a variety of truck styles and sizes. They are not as effective as seals but still provide a sufficient solution to help reduce energy loss.

In addition to seals and shelters, systems exist that only allow the dock door to be opened when a trailer is backed up to the dock and ready to be loaded/unloaded. For example, the Salvo Loading Dock Safety System ensures the dock door is locked closed until loading/unloading process can be performed safely. While a cool summer’s breeze may be enjoyable, precious energy and money are going to waste every second the dock door is left open.

These systems greatly reduce the amount of energy going to waste at a facility and help companies save on energy costs. Sustainability is important and efficient energy usage is the first step to ensuring our environment is a clean and safe place for us to live and work for the foreseeable future. Make an impact at your facility today by implementing a solution to reduce the amount of energy lost at the loading dock.

KIRK Key Interlock:

KIRK Key Interlock believes everyone has the right to be safe at work. KIRK provides sequenced process safety solutions to the logistics and energy industries. Our logistic solution, Salvo Loading Dock Safety Systems, prevent drive-aways during loading/unloading by interlocking the trailer’s air brakes with the dock door, ensuring that the trailer cannot depart until loading/unloading is completed and the dock door is closed.

Salvo Loading Dock Safety Systems protect loading dock personnel and ensure they return home safely at the end of their shift.

For more information on the Salvo Loading Dock Safety System visit https://www.kirkkey.com/ or contact sales@kirkkey.com to talk to a loading dock expert.

 

5 Tips to Select a Loading Dock Safety System for a New Warehouse Build

5 Tips to Select a Loading Dock Safety System for a New Warehouse Build

With e-commerce continuing to grow at increased rates, warehouse space is in high demand.

Retailers are looking to expand their warehouse space for distribution centers to keep up with their growing inventory.  According to Beroe Inc., the global warehousing market was valued at approx. $245 Billion globally in 2020, and it is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 7 percent between 2020 and 2024 to touch the $326 billion mark by the end of 2024.

In addition to the demand for warehouse space, there is a demand for this space to be fitted with today’s latest technology and automation. This increase in technology and automation allows for retailers to maximize throughput and efficiencies, however, it can also create a hazardous working environment where safety becomes secondary to speed of output.

Unfortunately, this type of environment often results in accidents, especially at the loading dock. 25% of all industrial accidents occur at the loading dock and 600 near misses occur for each accident. (ISHN)

To mitigate these risks, loading dock safety systems are commonly requested in new warehouse builds. Architects, engineers, specifiers, and owners are often responsible for selecting (or specifying) the loading dock safety system to incorporate into these projects.

With hundreds of loading dock safety products on the market, this decision can feel overwhelming. To help make the product specification simple, we have put together 5 tips to help you select a loading dock safety system for a new warehouse build:

 

  1. Simple Installation Process: When searching for a loading dock safety product, select a product with a quick and simple installation process to minimize the risk of delays and downtime. Many systems on the market require complex concrete work to install vehicle restraints at the dock. However, there are products available that use other types of restraints, such as gladhands. Gladhand restraint systems lock out the vehicles air brakes, preventing movement and avoiding invasive concrete work installation.

 

  1. Versatility: Warehouse design will differ from site to site and may use different loading structures, door types and vehicles depending on the facility’s location. Selecting a versatile solution that is compatible with a wide range of warehouse designs and vehicle types will save you time by allowing you to meet the requirements of multiple projects instead of only a single one.

 

  1. Flexibility: Most loading dock safety products are permanent systems that cannot be removed from a warehouse facility once they have been installed. However, some loading dock safety systems offer the flexibility of a semi-permanent system. This can be an added benefit to a retailer who is building their own site but may want the flexibility to bring their loading dock safety system with them if they were to ever sell their warehouse and move locations in the future. With a semi-permanent system, a loading dock safety system is only purchased once – saving owners money if a facility’s location were to change in the future.

 

  1. Lead Times: Selecting a product with a quick lead time will save time and avoid unnecessary delays. When considering a loading dock safety product to specify into a project, ensure lead times are reasonable and work with your project’s timeline. Lead time, installation time and your project timeline all need to be taken into consideration when selecting a loading dock safety system. Doing this ahead of time will avoid any surprises or delays in construction.

 

  1. Customer Service: Great customer service is essential when looking for any product specified into a project design. Not only does the product you are looking to specify need to be of high quality but so do the people who you will be regularly interacting with and representing the product. It is important to select a product that is supported by a company and individuals who are considered experts. Working with a team whose focus isn’t only on sales but who truly want to help you solve an issue you are experiencing makes all the difference. Choose a product that has the support of honest, trustworthy, and service oriented people behind it.

 

We hope these 5 tips help you select a loading dock safety system to specify for your next warehouse project.

If you have any questions, contact one of our Salvo loading dock safety experts through the following link: Talk to a Salvo Loading Dock Safety Expert

Salvo lofo

 

Precast Concrete Industry – Application Series: 5 of 5 Overhead/Gantry Cranes

Precast Concrete Industry – Application Series: 5 of 5

Overhead/Gantry Cranes – Trapped Key Interlock Safety Solutions

A recent 10yr study (2011-2017) of overhead crane incidents revealed 54% of all reportables resulted in fatality

Overhead and gantry cranes are essential for the movement of heavy materials to be efficient, effective, and without harm to personnel. During cement production, heavy pieces of equipment as well as finished precast product requires transportation into holding areas and or trucks for distribution.

This study revealed the following breakdown of hazards: 37% Crushed by Load * 27% Load Drop * 12% Caused by Fall * 11% Crushed or Pinned * 6% Improper or Lack of LOTO * 7% Other

Risks such as caught-in/between, struck-by/against, and/or overloaded or falling materials from a crane can bring serious harm to personnel, product, and equipment.  To ensure safety within the area, controlled access points interlocked with crane controls mitigate accidental entry while crane is in operation.

The average cost of a major injury due to an overhead crane incident is $200k / the average cost for a fatality is $4 million

Trapped key interlock safety solutions ensure a pre-determined sequence of operations each & every time.  While LOTO provides a visual warning and identifies hazards, a TKI solution physically prevents a specific set of actions from being performed until previous action(s) have been fully completed!

Common trapped key interlock solution implementation for overhead cranes:

Step 1: Safe Access KIRK Type DM access interlock installed on any and all  access points safeguarding overhead crane perimeter

Step 2: Multiple Entry Points KIRK Type T transfer interlock for sequence control of access keys only after all access points have been locked closed and ready to safely energize overhead/gantry crane

Step 3: Controlled Power KIRK Type PPS electromechanical interlock installed on control switch overhead/gantry crane

Download the pdf version of this fifth and final part of our Precast Concrete Application Series focusing on how trapped key interlocking solutions can mitigate risks when operating cranes and ensure efficient, effective and without harm to personnel movement of heavy materials. 

Precast Concrete Industry – Application Series: 4 of 5 Block & Tile Production

Precast Concrete Industry – Application Series: 4 of 5

Block & Tile Production – Trapped Key Interlock Safety Solutions

Coloring * Molding * Curing * Tumbling * Cubing * Palletizing

A production cell for precast concrete block & tile presents many hazards for workers and equipment.  Energized equipment, rotating machinery, industrial saws and cutters, pinch points and partial and or full body access points all present opportunity for extremity injuries.  Ensuring the proper sequence of safety operations is followed will mitigate the risk of injury.

Extremity injuries are prevalent, accounting for approximately ¾ of all reportable OSHA incidents within this industry

Regular maintenance on the equipment within the production cell is required to ensure efficiencies.  Safety processes must be followed to mitigate human error, eliminate risk, prevent injuries to extremities.

Hand injuries account for 20% of all workplace injuries and compensation costs can be as high as $150k per incident

Trapped key interlock safety solutions ensure a pre-determined sequence of operations each & every time. While LOTO provides a visual warning and identifies hazards, a TKI solution physically prevents a specific set of actions from being performed until previous action(s) have been fully completed!

Common trapped key interlock solution for a block/tile production cell:

Step 1: Power Isolation KIRK Type PPS isolation interlock installed on control panel for block/tile production cell

Step 2: Residual Energy KIRK Type TDKRU time delay unit pre-set to allow for run-down time on equipment

Step 3: Multiple Entry Points KIRK Type T transfer interlock for sequence control of access keys only after power isolation has occurred

Step 4: Safe Access KIRK Type DM access lock installed on main production cell gate and guarding gates

Download the pdf version of this fourth part of our Precast Concrete Application Series focusing on how trapped key interlocking solutions can help mitigate human error, eliminate risks and prevent injuries within a block & tile production cell. 

Precast Concrete Industry – Application Series: 3 of 5 Cement Mixers

Precast Concrete Industry – Application Series: 3 of 5

Cement Mixers – Trapped Key Interlock Safety Solutions

The most common cement mixer hazards: caught-in/between * electric shock * struck by moving elements

Concrete is the most common used man-made material on earth. The uses of concrete range from structural applications to piping, drains, and pavers. Buildings, bridges, roads, and more could not be constructed without this important material.

Assessing and maximizing machine guarding on your cement mixer will mitigate hazards and prevent injuries & fatalities

Concrete mixing plants must perform regular maintenance on mixers to ensure proper working conditions and efficiencies.  Maintenance can involve accessing the mixer’s entry points for cleaning and servicing of paddles or blades. To ensure work safety, power must be isolated prior to entry of the mixer and at no time during maintenance can power be inadvertently re-energized.

Don’t allow an oversite to become a reportable! Let’s change the statistics and enhance your safety!

Trapped key interlock safety solutions ensure a pre-determined sequence of operations each & every time. While LOTO provides a visual warning and identifies hazards, a TKI solution physically prevents a specific set of actions from being performed until previous action(s) have been fully completed!

Common trapped key interlock solution for isolating power and accessing mixer:

Step 1: Power Isolation KIRK Type F isolation interlock installed on main breaker for mixer

Step 2: Residual Energy KIRK Type TDKRU time delay unit pre-set to allow for mixer run-down time

Step 3: Safe Access KIRK Type DM access lock installed on mixer lid

Step 4: Controlled Power KIRK Type PPS electromechanical interlock installed on control switch for mixer lid winch

Download the pdf version of this third part of our Precast Concrete Application Series focusing on how trapped key interlocking solutions can help isolate power and grant safe access to cement mixers.  

Precast Concrete Industry – Application Series: 2 of 5 Gravel Pits: Confined Space

Precast Concrete Industry – Application Series: 2 of 5

Gravel Pits: Confined Space – Trapped Key Interlock Safety Solutions

4.8 million confined space incidents a year are logged with OSHA

The storage of aggregate for various usage can lead to the potential risk to personnel involving engulfment within hoppers (confined space) and loss of materials due to incorrect materials loading. Protecting workers from confined space hazards that can occur during maintenance, cleaning, filling, and unloading of hoppers is critical within a gravel pit.

92 workplace fatalities and 11,000 injuries a year are the result of confined space incidents as reported by the U.S. Dept. of Labor

Interlocking access doors/gates around conveyor systems and hoppers will ensure that entry can only be gained after the power has been isolated and residual energy has ceased.  Understanding the access points, partial or full body, will help determine the best interlocking solution to safely manage access to the hoppers and surrounding areas that could pose a confined space hazard.

60% of confined space fatalities are rescuers – Let’s change the statistics and enhance your safety!

Trapped key interlock safety solutions ensure a pre-determined sequence of operations each & every time. While LOTO provides a visual warning and identifies hazards, a TKI solution physically prevents a specific set of actions from being performed until previous action(s) have been fully completed!

Common trapped key interlock solution interlocking conveyor system with multiple access points and hopper doors to mitigate confined space hazards:

Step 1: Power Isolation KIRK Type F isolation interlock installed on main breaker for conveyor

Step 2: Multiple Entry Points KIRK Type T transfer interlock for access to multiple hopper access doors

Step 3: Safe Access KIRK Type D access lock installed on hopper doors. A two-cylinder KIRK Type D can be implemented to provide a personnel key to be held by personnel performing maintenance.

Download the pdf version of this second part of our Precast Concrete Application Series focusing on how trapped key interlocking solutions can help mitigate confined space hazards.