Bollards are a well-known type of protection against vehicles and traffic, but what are the benefits of industrial bollards and which workplaces use them? This article will answer these questions and more.
You can read the full article or jump ahead to a relevant section:
- Which workplaces use safety bollards? Protecting your facility
- Safety bollards in industrial facilities: What needs protecting?
- Industrial bollards: What types are there?
1. Which workplaces use safety bollards? | Protecting your facility
To make the right decision when investing in bollards, it’s important to understand your facility and the level of protection it needs.
Which workplaces use bollards?
When talking about bollards, you need to be clear on the types of bollard available. As we’ve discussed elsewhere in our blog there are different types of bollard:
- Road and traffic bollards
- Parking bollards
- Industrial bollards
For the purpose of this article we will be discussing industrial bollards specifically.
How is an industrial bollard different to traditional bollards?
An industrial bollard is a type of protection that is used specifically in industrial workplaces, such as:
- Car Parks
While industrial bollards provide a similar type of protection to traditional road, traffic, and parking bollards, they have been designed to defend against vehicles usually found in these types of facilities.
Road, traffic, and parking bollards are usually made from steel, iron, or concrete and are designed to prevent cars, trucks and lorries from breeching pedestrian areas and pavements. Industrial bollards are designed to handle materials handling vehicles such as forklift trucks which are heavier and more dense than traditional transportation – while they can be made from steel and iron, they can also be made from durable, flexible plastic known as polymer.
Which industries use bollards?
Bollards are a fairly common form of protection in industrial settings, especially facilities that have a high volume of vehicles working constantly. Industries that use bollard protection most commonly include:
It’s crucial that you ensure your facility is always well-protected – not only for the sake of production but to ensure your building, stock and workforce are safe during operating hours. At A-SAFE, we can help you find exactly the right solutions for your safety needs. Why not speak to a member of our team to find out more?
2. Safety bollards in industrial facilities | What needs protecting?
Once you know which industries and types of facilities use bollards, you can start to understand what needs protecting.
What areas of a facility need bollards?
It’s helpful to know the areas of a factory or warehouse that could use additional protection from site vehicles. The whole point of safety bollards is to protect vulnerable and valuable areas of a factory, these are the areas that could have wider ramifications for your business if impacted. Traditionally, these include:
Machinery is obviously an important part of a facility as it keeps production moving and ensures that products are being created to fulfil customer orders. If a machine becomes damaged by a vehicle impact, not only can this require repairing but it can have a knock-on effect to which orders are completed. Therefore, bollards can be incredibly useful in ensuring your machinery is well protected.
In addition, bollards can be a more effective solution than traditional safety barriers for things such as machinery which need constant access. While a safety barrier will cover a larger area than a bollard, they can be restrictive when it comes to allowing pedestrians to access machinery or to load and unload pallet trucks and forklift trucks directly from machine conveyors. Bollards can provide the necessary protection to vulnerable areas while still providing easy access.
Building and infrastructure
Infrastructure is an incredibly important part of a facility, but often an area that can go unprotected. Vulnerable parts of a building’s infrastructure, such as walls and corners can be subjected to repeated impacts from site vehicles as they manoeuvre round busy sites. Bollards can provide additional protection to these specific areas to limit the damage incurred and reduce the effects of structural weakening from repeated impacts.
In addition, bollards can protect infrastructure such as electrical wiring, fuse boxes, plumbing and heating. As mentioned above, with bollards you can protect these elements while still allowing workers to gain access easily.
It goes without saying that stock is incredibly valuable, after all, it’s what keeps a business going and driving income. Therefore, it also needs protection. Damaged stock is no good to customers and will cost employers a large amount to dispose of and replace. Bollards can be an effective safety system in certain cases as they can prevent vehicles from connecting with stacked goods or vulnerable areas of warehouse racking.
We have touched on this in the above point, but it’s worth reiterating. Not only does stock need to be protected from unwanted collisions but structures that support and store stock, such as warehouse racking, also need protection. If racking is struck, it can create weaknesses in the structure which will require repairing. Quarantining racking to undertake the necessary maintenance can disrupt production and result in delayed deliveries. In worst case scenarios, severely damaged racking could collapse putting infrastructure, stock and workers at risk.
What are the costs of damage on site?
The cost of damage on site can be easy to identify, as it usually refers to the cost of repairing whatever has been damaged following an accident, such as machinery. However, there are additional costs to consider, including:
- Damaged stock and goods
- Unfulfilled customer orders
- Operational downtime to repair or replace damaged assets
- Additional maintenance needed to repair assets or infrastructure
- Additional insurance fees
- Fines and legal fees for not providing adequate levels of protection
That’s why effective site protection is essential, not only will it limit the damage to your machinery, stock, and infrastructure but it will reduce the additional costs that can be occurred when production must cease. All these costs can build and make on-site accidents incredibly expensive.
It’s important to protect the various areas of your facility and we can help. At A-SAFE, we design, test and manufacturer a wide range of flexible polymer safety products. From traffic and pedestrian barriers, to bollards and warehouse racking protection. Speak to a member of our team to find out how we can help you.
3. Industrial Bollards | What types are there?
There aren’t many types of industrial bollard, as opposed to something like safety barriers which can feature many different configurations. However, it’s still important to understand how certain bollards differ.
Are all bollards the same?
No, not all bollards are the same. Industrial bollard strengths can vary wildly from one manufacturer to another, so it’s always important to understand the size of the force they can withstand.
Something that may affect how well a bollard can protect is the material it is made from. There are three main types of bollard:
What is the difference between concrete, steel and polymer bollards?
Concrete and steel are traditional materials used to create bollards. In recent years, polymer bollards have become far more common as they are long-lasting and low maintenance. Many industrial facilities are turning to them to protect their assets and infrastructure.
While concrete and steel are strong and can defend against vehicle collisions, they are often one-use safety products. Even a minor impact from a forklift truck can deform them, weaken them structurally or even tear them from their footings. They will likely need replacing after every impact. Polymer bollards are made from a flexible type of plastic that can bend with the force of an impact and return to its natural shape so it can be used multiple times.
What types of bollard can be found in the workplace?
There are two main types of bollard found in industrial settings, these are:
Standard bollards vs heavy duty bollards
As the names suggest, the main difference in these bollards is down to the size of the force they can withstand. Heavy-duty bollards are often used in areas where larger vehicles operate, or the standard speed limit is higher.
Are there any other types of bollard?
Other types of bollard available reflect the types of scenarios they are found in; the two most common types are:
- Cold storage bollards
- Extended bollards
Cold storage bollards
Cold storage facilities need the same level of protection as the rest of a factory or warehouse but require safety systems that can work well at lower temperatures. Therefore, cold storage bollards are best in these instances – otherwise the bollards will become brittle and weak in the cold, making them more likely to fail upon impact.
This refers to bollards that are much taller than traditional installations. They are most common in areas where protection is needed to a taller height, for example: in busy service yards where tall articulated lorries operate. If a lorry needs access to a loading door, it is common to use extended bollards to ensure the door frame is properly protected.
In addition, extended bollards can provide visual guidance for drivers who are elevated higher than normal, to help them avoid vulnerable assets or infrastructure.
At A-SAFE we have a range of flexible polymer bollards and safety systems for all sorts of needs. Find out more about our heavy duty and cold storage bollards by speaking to a member of our team.
Industrial bollards in the workplace | A summary
Now you understand what bollards can be found in a range of workplaces, across a variety of industries, you can start to identify the type of protection you need for your site. Check out our other articles to find information on whether to choose steel or polymer bollards and how to buy and install industrial bollards.
Alternatively, you can speak to a member of our team to find out how A-SAFE and our range of flexible polymer bollards can provide effective protection for your facility. Give us a call on (443) 776-3472, email us at [email protected] or use the contact form below.