Dairy Crest improves loading bay safety with Salvo05 May 2010

Chilled dairy foods firm Dairy Crest is giving the thumbs up to Castell's interlocking drive-away prevention system that protects loading bay personnel.

The company has now installed Castell's Salvo at two sites, and Martin O'Brien, health & safety manager at Dairy Crest's Fenstanton dairy, says: "Without a shadow of a doubt, it's the best system we've found."

O'Brien explains that Fenstanton has 10 loading bays and a lot of eastern European workers. "My biggest concern, from a health and safety perspective, is language and their understanding of day-to-day systems of work. "We had initially tried a traffic light system, with red and green warning lights. But that didn't work: there was still the danger of shunters pulling trailers off a bay with someone still inside."

He says he first came across Salvo through Sarah Mellor at Dairy Crest's Crudgington facility, where the safety system had been in successful operation for a couple of years. Having spoken to staff at the site and seen Salvo in action, O'Brien decided that it was also right for the firm's Fenstanton depot.

Its biggest advantage, he says, is that the shunters retain control, and that there is simply no room for assumptions that might lead to accidents. "No one can get in [the trailers] till the shunters are finished outside and they can't then take a trailer away till their all clear and the doors are down. It took just one hour to train all our people on the system."

Fenstanton handles an average of 100 vehicle movements a day. In operation, shunters reverse trailers up to the relevant bay, remove the Salvo Susie lock from its storage box and fit it to the trailer's exposed emergency airline coupling. This immobilises the trailer and releases an individually coded key from the end of the lock, which the shunter then inserts into the Salvo control panel next to the bay door.

Internal beacons then alert loaders that the bay door can be opened, while yard-side traffic lights switch from green to red, to inform shunters that loading or unloading is taking place. Once the trailer has been loaded or unloaded, the process is reversed. The key remains trapped in the Salvo control panel until the door is fully closed. Hence, no loading personnel can be in the trailer when it's removed from the bay.

Fenstanton's chief shunter, Alan Crouch, confirms that the system works well. He says he has been impressed by Salvo's simplicity and ease-of-use, and also makes the point that it puts control of the loading procedure in the hands of his team. "Shunters have been the driving force behind the adoption of this technology, and they're the ones who are most pleased with it," says Crouch.

Dairy Crest reports that the system has eliminated all accidents connected with the site's loading bays. O'Brien also says that, during installation, the Castell team completed the 10 bays in five working days without any disruption to the 24-hour site operation.

Brian Tinham

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