Health and safety is always of high importance in any workplace and a glass plant is no different, which is why Allied Glass has taken steps to improve the segregation between vehicles and people at its Leeds factory.
While there haven’t been any accidents or near misses to prompt the new measures, the company recognised the potential risk and set out to reduce it with a number of measures.
A new system of fixed barrier walkways around the site and designated crossing points have been introduced in the yard, car park and cold end of the site, whilst a fully automated electric barrier system has been used to segregate points in the yard and cold end of the factory.
The barriers allow forklift drivers to enter a holding area through one barrier, drop products off and then exit, all whilst a second barrier remains down to prevent a pedestrian entering at the area at the same time. Only once the truck has exited the area will the pedestrian barrier open, allowing the product to be collected ensuring complete segregation between the vehicle and the pedestrian.
All walkways are enclosed to prevent crossing at non-designated points, while crossing areas are controlled using the three barrier system to prevent crossing when a forklift is in operation.
A companywide initiative
After starting as a health and safety initiative, the system became a companywide project which involved someone from each department in the business.
Speaking on the collaboration, Allied’s Health and Safety Manager at Knottingley Paul Gill said:
“As a health and safety team we could be quite narrow minded, so working together as a group gave us some great practical solutions to some issues
“Each department head had an input and have taken on considerations from others in their areas, helping achieve the positive feedback and cooperation they have had.”
Paula Norton, Health and Safety Manager at the Leeds site added:
“Everyone had input and ownership of the project and we’ve seen that people haven’t been taking shortcuts – instead they’ve been using the paths as designed.”
The new system has seen positive feedback across the board from the site’s workers, so much so that the same improvements are set to be added to Allied’s decoration plant in Castleford and its Knottingley factory in the New Year using the same team project format.
Responding to Allied’s work, Holly Feeney, EHS Officer at British Glass said:
“It’s great to see Allied taking proactive steps and employing engineering controls to reduce their risks of onsite transport.
“Allied have included all relevant departments in the project from the start which will increase staff engagement and means that the initiative will be more likely to succeed and change the safety culture.”