Loading and unloading specialist Thorworld Industries, has launched a new range of interlock devices designed to improve operator safety and prevent drive-offs when using mobile yardramps and loading bays.
With over thirty years' experience in the manufacture and supply of dock and loading bay equipment, Thorworld is all too aware that, as a focal point for many businesses, the loading and unloading area presents a high concentration of hazards.
"A sound safety procedure could make many work-related accidents preventable, as well as stopping the huge burden in terms of downtime, repairs and possible legislative fines," explains Mark James, Quality and Health & Safety Manager at Thorworld Industries.
Fatalities involving unsecured trailers are on the increase, and the Health & Safety Executive frequently fines companies for not correctly restraining vehicles on their premises, with costs potentially running into six figures.
Thorworld has long advocated the benefits of safety and restraint products, arguing that even the addition of wheel chocks can make the difference between life and death. Now, the company has expanded its existing range of safety accessories to offer simple and cost-effective interlock mechanisms that introduce a rigorous protocol into common applications.
The range consists of two devices: the Yardramp Safety Interlock, designed to work with Thorworld's market-leading mobile yardramps; and Loading Bay Interlocks to Prevent Drive Offs, which can be customised to work with a variety of loading dock doors or levellers.
Both products utilise a "˜trapped key' control system that only permits the use of loading bay equipment once specific criteria have been met. The interlock is secured onto the trailer's emergency air hose connector, preventing the vehicle from driving away. Once the air-hose is locked, a coded key is released that the operator can use to access the desired equipment.
Once finished, this operation is reversed. Locking the equipment frees the key, which is then used to unlock the air hose and enable the driver to depart. Accordingly, this step-by-step process prevents the premature movement of trailers before the loading operation is complete.
While the concept is common to both interlocks, each product has individual uniquely designed functions that are optimised to specific equipment types.
The Yardramp Safety Interlock works in conjunction with a chain across the yardramp. Until it is unlocked with the coded key, the presence of the chain prevents forklifts from accessing the yardramp until the trailer is parked and secured.
Where a dedicated loading bay is in use, Loading Bay Interlocks provide effective control of doors or levellers. The coded key is inserted into a control panel, positioned either inside or outside the building, which enables operation of the equipment within pre-sequenced parameters.
All interlocks can be integrated into new equipment or retro-fitted to existing solutions, giving customers peace of mind whatever the set-up of their loading and unloading area.
Thorworld believes that the provision of interlocks reinforces the company's commitment to being a one-stop shop for customers' loading and unloading needs. "Safety is paramount, and our interlocks are designed to keep businesses loading and unloading with confidence," confirms Mark James.
"By using proven "˜trapped key' processes, our interlocks – which can be specified for use with mobile yardramps or loading bays – offer a systematic, fool-proof mechanism that significantly reduces the risk of trailers driving away before operations are complete."