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As we saw in the first post pertaining to the GSK’s success story, the company prioritised the care and welfare of its employees by installing a Traffic Control System (TCS) in its plant’s production area. After verifying the success of the solution in the first phase, the company took another step towards industrial safety, incorporating Claitec’s Traffic Control System to its warehouse area.

The purpose of this solution is to adequately segregate pedestrians and forklifts, ensuring a safe work environment for both operators. Like many of Claitec’s solutions, the Traffic Control System is a passive approach that does not require the attention or operation of a person. It works by placing a TZ2-Tag device in the warehouse which, detects the presence of trucks in turn equipped with another activator. It also includes traffic lights, signage, safety gates and pedestrian railings.

 

During the first phase of the TCS implementation in the production area we encountered a unique problem – the corridors were very narrow. This made it difficult to separate pedestrian crossings and forklift trucks properly. There were also more forklifts in the warehouse and more free space, causing them to travel at faster speeds. If we add the fact that in the warehouse there are few pedestrians and that the forklift operators work with a lower degree of alertness, we have before us a place with greater risk of accidents.

The objective of the second phase was to adequately segregate pedestrian and forklift traffic. This required a combination of technology for adequate signalling, detectors, as well as doors that ensure the safety of operators by preventing their passage to risk areas. In this video you can see how the TCS solution was installed to allow us to successfully meet the objectives of this second phase and to provide a more efficient and safe work for GSK’s warehouse operators.

 

As seen in the video, the solution includes detectors that identify the presence of a forklift in the area. Signalling devices – two traffic lights – alert pedestrians to the presence of a nearby forklift. But the great novelty of the solution lies in the gates as these close automatically in the presence of the forklift, preventing any operator on foot from entering the area. When the area is free of forklifts, they open again, allowing the normal passage of any pedestrian with or without carts.

The gate has the added advantage of a motorised opening and closing system – extremely useful for operators with occupied hands, particularly if pushing a cart. Besides the obvious safety it provides pedestrians, these gates help forklift drivers work more safely and efficiently, with the assurance that there will be no pedestrians in their transit zones. They can even “forget” about potentially crossing paths with pedestrians in poor visibility areas.

 

Worthy of mention also is the fact that the traffic lights indicate green or red according to the situation, providing extra security for all those involved.

 

GSK took a new step towards providing greater safety to its operators. After the first two phases, in which the company secured the safety in the production plant and the warehouse, GSK plans to implement a third stage, installing the solution in its medicine plant. This would complete the implementation of Claitec’s pedestrian warning and traffic control system of its Aranda de Duero plant.

 


* GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) is a world leader in pharmaceutical research and healthcare. The company’s mission is: “to get people to do more, feel better and live longer”.

Claitec participated in the fair LogiMat 2017 in Stuttgart.

 

The fair was a good opportunity to meet with some distributors and customers from Europe.

In LogiMat 2017 we have seen that the logistics sector is booming and that the industry 4.0 is more present.

 

 

Safety in the workplace:

The importance of the most “trivial” measures

 

It is easy to fall into the belief that workplace safety depends only on tools such as helmets, vests, harnesses, or implemented solutions such as those offered by Claitec. Undoubtedly all of these are important, but we can never forget about other factors that also influence the safety of a plant or factory.

Our mission is not to install technological solutions. Our mission is to create a safer life in a safer workplace. This means being aware of all the factors that can affect safety in the workplace, including, for example, some measures or practices that at first sight may seem “trivial“. It is precisely there where we find the largest latent risks, precisely because people do not often pay enough attention to them.

 

In this post we want to analyse something which, at first glance might seem trivial like parking a car in the workplace. The interest in this subject was triggered when we began to observe that many of the companies we visited had the practice or even rule of parking their cars using reverse gear. But why?

 

After analysing the reasons with a more critical vision, as well as studying several comments and contributions from different companies, we have come to the conclusion that there are many benefits of implementing this rule, particularly in terms of safety.

 

1. Emergency cases

The first and most obvious reason is thinking about the most serious threat to the safety of those working in a plant, i.e. an emergency. During any extreme risk situation, if all cars had been parked using reverse gear it is common sense to assume that any potential evacuation would be a lot more agile, particularly so if we are talking about a large plant, with lots of cars parked in the car park. On the other hand, the exit of cars that had been parked in forward gear would be much slower.

 

The sum of many cars leaving their places at half speed could mean that the complete evacuation of the plant takes double, triple or even four times more than it would with cars that had been parked in reverse gear.

 

2. Leaving the plant with less risk

The other benefit we notice at safety level also occurs when leaving the workplace. If a driver had parked using reverse gear, leaving his space is not only a lot simpler and more direct – above all it allows for a better visibility of whatever is transiting along the street.

It is a lot easier to exit if the car has been parked with its back to the footpath. In addition, if the vehicle was parked with its front to the footpath, it would have to go back far enough to be able to determine whether another vehicle was coming or not, which almost always would involve invading part of the street, thus raising the risk of running over a pedestrian, colliding with another car, etc.

 

This becomes even more important if we consider that when we leave work we are in a hurry to reach our destination. This mind-set does not combine well with a reverse exit with reduced visibility. When arriving at work in the morning, it is less risky to do an extra manoeuvre to reverse the car, considering that we are better rested and generally less eager to reach our destination.

 

3. No attention is paid to what’s in the parking space

While we are talking about safety as we leave the parking space, the risk is also minor as we arrive. When the car is parked forward, it is not necessary a conduct a previous manoeuvre and the driver can enter the car into its place directly. When parking backwards, the driver is forced to make an extra manoeuvre, so he is forced to check the space before entering with his car.

 

You never know what you may find in your car space: small car, a pedestrian, an object (such as a car), an animal, etc.

 

4. Psychological effect

Beyond the most obvious benefits seen above, when we analyse the safety benefits of parking the car in reverse gear more in depth, we discover something very peculiar: by emphatically signalling the rule or recommendation to park the vehicle in reverse gear, the driver does not have to wait to enter the plant to become aware of the importance of safety. In his very own personal car he is already exposed to a sign that reminds him or her how important safety is.

 

 

Conclusion

To conclude, let us look back at the term “trivial” that we underlined at the beginning of the post. As experts in the field we know that many factors affect safety but not all are equally present in people’s minds. That’s why we thought it important to raise awareness about something that may seem trivial at first glance, such as parking the car every day.

However, we see statistics of accidents or evacuation problems in parking spaces. In those cases, the security measures are no longer trivial. We invite everyone to reflect on the importance of safety in workplaces in ALL its forms – from the most indispensable safety instruments to those practices which, while they may seem trivial, when needed can represent such an important difference in the health of a human being.

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