When purchasing safety systems for your factory, warehouse, or facility, it’s important to understand what you should be looking for to make an informed decision. This guide helps to explain what to consider when buying and installing industrial bollards.
You can read the full article or jump ahead to a relevant section:
- Investing in industrial bollards: What should I consider?
- Buying industrial bollards: What do I need to know?
- Installing industrial bollards: Making sure they’re installed correctly
1. Investing in industrial bollards | What should I consider?
There are a range of issues to consider when investing in new safety systems for your facility, as these will affect the decisions you make.
Questions you should ask yourself, include:
- What is my budget?
- What am I protecting against?
- What are the long-term costs of investing in bollards?
What is your budget?
Unfortunately, the amount of money a company can spend on safety is not unlimited. There are a range of factors that can affect the size of the health and safety budget. Therefore, it is incredibly important to understand how much you can spend and how you can maximise the potential of your budget.
Once you have identified the hazards on site, then look at ways to remove or control these hazards that don’t rely on purchasing safety equipment. For example, if a certain part of your facility is vulnerable to regular impacts from forklift trucks, look at changes you can make to the vehicle routes, the rota of when drivers are on site or other measures you can implement, such as one way systems. All these solutions are relatively cheap to do but no less effective. They will allow you to devote more of your budget to areas that need greater investment.
What are you protecting against?
Following a risk assessment, you’ll have a much better understanding of what you’re protecting against. In doing that, you can start to see whether a bollard is the right solution. It might be that a safety barrier is better suited to your situation or a change in process, as we mentioned in the previous question.
What are the long-term costs of investing in bollards?
Another thing to consider is how often accidents happen on site – if they’re incredibly frequently then you need to consider the long-term costs. If a bollard is repeatedly struck, then it’s important to invest in bollards that can withstand multiple impacts – if this is the case then a polymer bollard will be a more effective solution than traditional steel or iron.
In most cases, steel and iron bollards will be rendered unusable after one impact. This will mean they will need repairing or, more likely, replacing following an impact. Polymer bollards are designed to flex with an impact and reform to their original shape so they can be reused. While a polymer bollard might be more expensive initially, the additional costs will be lower than steel or iron.
Also, consider maintenance. Steel and iron will need painting and treating to prevent rust and dulling over time, polymer bollards don’t so this will also keep your costs down.
At A-SAFE, we pride ourselves on providing a fully rounded service. Not only can we help you identify risks on site, but we will plan the layout of your safety systems in line with the PAS 13 code of practice, and then install them correctly. Speak to a member of our time to find out more.
2. Buying industrial bollards | What do I need to know?
Understanding the types of protection available is a great start, then you can start to research the ones that are relevant to you. This section covers the best way to identify what protection you need, research relevant manufacturers and other topics to consider.
How do I work out where I need bollards at my factory?
First and foremost, you need to understand where bollards would be a valuable addition to your facility. There are lots of vulnerable areas to consider but these will vary from one factory to another – so you need to get a good understanding of the hazards at your site. To do this, you’ll need to perform a risk assessment.
Perform a risk assessment
Performing a risk assessment is the best way to identify the hazards present at your facility. From there you can start to figure our where safety systems are required.
It’s important to look at those areas of your site where accidents and incidents are most common. This might just be minor scuffs or scrapes to walls, corners or other structures such as racking but if these incidents are happening regularly then it’s proof that a bollard or similar might help to eliminate these problems.
Additionally, it’s important to see your site during production. Seeing the way vehicles, machinery and pedestrians operate in the same space is a good way to really understand what hazards are present and who or what they could affect.
Consider the relevant safety standards and guidelines
We discussed the safety standards around bollards in our Guide to Industrial Bollards but it is worth reviewing these documents to see if they can help with the planning and implementing of new safety systems. It might be that there are specific requirements for the installation of bollards but even if this isn’t the case, they can be useful for gaining a better understanding of how to protect a facility.
Research industrial bollard manufacturers
There are a wide range of bollard manufacturers available, the difficulty comes in finding the one that’s right for you and your needs. It’s important to consider:
- The reputation of the brand
- The relevant safety claims
- Certification and testing
- Customer testimonials
Trusted bollard manufacturers
As with any purchase made, you want to be sure the product is up to the job. When that product protects people and valuable assets, it’s even more important that you can place your trust in it. And the same goes for the manufacturer. There are a lot of different suppliers of bollards and safety systems, but you need to know which ones you can trust.
While a known brand might charge a little more for their bollards, there’s a reason their name is well known. It’s easier to place trust in a company that is established and respected rather than one who is not.
Conduct thorough research and find out what the perception of the company is – are they a leading industry name for a reason?
Bollard safety claims
All industrial safety bollards should come with specific claims about what they can defend against. These are usually referred to as ‘impact ratings’ and are measured in Joules. They reflect the size of a force a bollard can sustain from a vehicle impact.
While these can offer a clear idea of how effective a bollard will be, it’s important to interrogate these figures closely as they can be misleading. Just because one bollard has a higher impact rating than another, it doesn’t necessarily mean it can sustain a bigger force. It’s important to know if the bollard has been tested to destruction and whether the rating represents the force it can withstand or the force that would destroy it.
Bollard certification and testing
Following on from the previous point, it’s important to look at the testing a manufacturer does on their products. Safety products are designed to be reliable so it’s important to know they’ve been tested thoroughly.
Look for the manufacturers claims about testing and do a little research to see if they’re done in line with the relevant safety standards. Another thing to look for is whether the company has received independent certification from a trusted testing body. If they have – and the testing body also has a strong reputation – this is a good sign that they will live up to their claims.
Customer reviews and testimonials
One clear way to see whether a bollard manufacturer can be trusted, is by looking at the feedback from their previous customers. Reliable safety suppliers will showcase reviews and testimonials from their customers to prove they deliver on their claims – so try to look for these during your research.
Case studies provide a great way to see how a manufacturer has approached a problem and whether they just supply a bollard or whether they provide a fully rounded assessment and installation service as well.
At A-SAFE, we believe in the importance of trust. That’s why we are upfront and honest about the testing we do – in line with PAS 13 – our independent certification from TÜV NORD and our satisfied customers. We also offer free site surveys and our team of installers can get you up and running in no time. To find out how we can help you – give us a call.
3. Installing industrial bollards | Making sure they’re installed correctly
Once you’ve found the right bollard manufacturer, it’s important to ensure your bollards are correctly installed so they can provide the most effective level of protection.
Where can bollards be installed?
As with safety barriers, bollards need strong foundations on which to be installed. In the event of an impact, the force of the collision will move through the bollard into its footings. With steel and iron bollards, if the force is large enough, then it will wrench the bollard from the concrete floor, meaning both the bollard will need replacing and the ground will need repairing. With polymer bollards, a force is absorbed and dispersed to limit the damage to the floor.
Whether you invest in polymer or metal bollards, it’s important to speak with your manufacturer to understand what foundations are needed. Some manufacturers will perform a site survey before installation to ensure the ground is sturdy enough.
How do I install bollards correctly?
All manufacturers should provide detailed instructions or instructional videos to help you install their bollards safely and securely. It’s important to follow the installation steps as closely as you can to ensure the level of safety is as effective as possible.
Some manufacturers provide expert installation teams who can come to your facility and install products themselves. While this can be an additional cost, it’s a very good way to ensure your safety systems are as effective as possible. Speak with your manufacturer to understand what services they provide to help you get the best level of protection.
Our dedicated installation team can make sure your site is safe and secure in no time. Their expert installations are quick and professional and limit the amount of downtime on site, to keep you up and running. Speak to one of our team to find out more.
Buying and installing industrial bollards | A summary
So, there you go. If you’re about to start looking into industrial bollards for your site and are unsure where to start, hopefully this article will help. The important things to remember are understanding your facility and its safety needs; conducting proper researching on suppliers; and ensuring that bollards are installed exactly to manufacturers specifications. Then you’re all set.
At A-SAFE, we pride ourselves on delivering not only world-leading polymer safety bollards but a world-class service that helps you to identify your needs, find the perfect solutions and install them to an incredibly high standard. To find out how we can help you, contact us on (443) 776-3472, email us at [email protected] or use the contact form below, and we’ll do everything we can to get your site safety up to scratch.