Case study

DSV trusts A-SAFE protection at one of Europe’s largest warehouses

To protect its people, buildings and racking, DSV chose A-SAFE as its industrial safety supplier of choice.

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DSV - Global Transport & Logistics

A global leader in transport and logistics, DSV offers warehousing and supply chain solutions across land, sea and air. To protect its people, buildings and racking in this fast-paced high-volume industry, the company chose A-SAFE as its industrial safety supplier of choice for all its European facilities.

At 94,000 square metres, the newly built DSV warehouse distribution centre in the Dutch town of Tholen is one of the largest and most advanced facilities of its kind in the world. It features state-of-the-art warehouse technology and uses innovative energy features that have seen the building attain BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification for environmental sustainability.

Efficiency and sustainability

Efficiency and sustainability go hand-in-hand for DSV, which works closely with its customers to develop logistics solutions that reduce costs by improving productivity. The new Tholen distribution centre is a great example of the company’s world-leading approach to creating efficient and sustainable supply chains. This ethos is part of the reason it chose to work with A-SAFE.

At DSV, we have opted for the polymer safety barriers of A-SAFE for our racking because it is a lot more sustainable than steel or wood,” Manager Business Support, Joost Spoel says. He is responsible for supporting six large warehouse sites across the Netherlands. His multifaceted role covers everything from process engineering, project management and procurement, to facility, security, and inventory management. Describing the advantages of A-SAFE polymer, he continues, “The impact gets absorbed, so that the safety barriers remain intact and reform to their shape. Also, the equipment involved in the collision is not damaged on impact. This extends the lifespan of our racking and equipment.”

The new facility opened in July 2020 and when fully staffed, it will employ between 200 and 300 people from the local area. As a high-volume, 24-hour operation, it is vital for DSV to protect its employees by segregating them from moving vehicles and materials handling equipment. So too, is maintaining the safety of pallet racking to maximise service capacity for customers.

DSV 2 Joost

“Safety is key at DSV and A-SAFE supports us in achieving our safety goals.”

Joost Spoel, Manager Business Support, DSV

Reducing risk with PAS 13 compliance

A-SAFE industrial facility safety experts visited site and discussed the project with Joost and his colleagues. They conducted an in-depth safety survey and risk assessment of each part of the facility, specifying the right product tailored to the safety needs of specific areas.

By rigorously following the practical guidance in PAS 13, A-SAFE industrial safety surveys go the extra mile to ensure people, buildings and equipment are fully protected. In a busy warehouse environment, the speeds and weights of industrial vehicles – as well as other factors such as the heights and angles of a potential impacts – all help to determine the correct safety infrastructure specification.

For this reason, A-SAFE uses PAS 13 to ensure customers get the best protection for their facilities. DSV similarly saw the value in attaining a PAS 13-compliant site, as Joost says, “With the A-SAFE products we can protect our employees against moving traffic. Pedestrians and moving traffic constantly cross each other here and with the A-SAFE safety barriers we can safeguard that. We have positioned the safety barriers according to the PAS 13 guidelines, with this we guarantee the safety of our employees.”

​What is PAS 13?

Published by the British Standards Institution in cooperation with the UK Health and Safety Executive, and a panel of leading companies from across industry, PAS 13 is the definitive code of practice worldwide for safety barriers in the industrial workplace.

PAS13 sets a benchmark for barrier testing, best practice for traffic management, and safety barrier installation.

  • 2275 RackGuards
  • 155 metres of pedestrian guardrails
  • 248 bollards
  • 72 alarm bars
  • 33 ForkGuards
  • 119 RackEnd barriers

Safeguarding high-activity areas

Essential to any distribution centre are the service yard and loading docks. These areas commonly see the highest number of traffic movements and the heaviest vehicles. A-SAFE worked closely with Joost and his team to define and specify the best heavy-duty protection for the large number of loading docks at DSV Tholen.

Safety of employees is a priority for DSV, and to this end they invested in an 87,000-square metre ESFR sprinkler system. Widely regarded as one of the greatest innovations in fire protection, this life-saving overhead ESFR equipment was identified as being at risk of impact from vehicle masts around the dock doors. The A-SAFE Alarm Bar product was the ideal solution. “We use safety barriers for the dock doors to protect both the dock itself and the building against collision,” says Joost, “As well as the sprinklers above the dock doors against collision with our trucks.”

Expert industrial safety installation

The enormous scale and complexity of this new build project meant that challenges were faced at every phase. In installing the safety features, DSV turned to the expertise of A-SAFE safety installation team. Joost says, “The Tholen project was a very challenging project that consisted of multiple phases. We couldn’t have done this without the collaboration with our service providers, including A-SAFE, who were able to build up the safety barriers in multiple phases in the various halls. In addition to this we were able to leave the installation completely up to A-SAFE.”

The DSV facility in Tholen is among the largest of its kind. A-SAFE wanted to ensure the site had safety infrastructure on a scale to match. DSV and A-SAFE worked hard to achieve a high level of protection, putting Tholen Distribution Centre at the forefront of safety for an industrial workplace. People, buildings and equipment have optimum protection throughout the facility.

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Trusted safety investment

The relationship between DSV and A-SAFE looks set to continue, with a Europe-wide agreement now in place. The ambitious growth in new build construction projects at DSV will be supported all the way by A-SAFE, introducing the best industrial safety solutions to some of the most advanced logistics facilities in the world. “We have got a European contract with A-SAFE. All our new warehouses will be equipped with A-SAFE polymer safety barriers, just like this Distribution Centre in Tholen,” says Joost, “This means we guarantee the safety of our employees but also, the quality of our racking equipment. In addition, we create uniformity within all warehouses because each one will install A-SAFE products.”

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