The efficiency of a storage system is also related to its level of safety. And when it comes to total safety, no detail can be overlooked, right from the design and installation of the chosen solution, regardless of whether we are talking about industrial racking or automated, vertical or self-supporting storage systems. We have already dealt with anti-seismic safety and the continuous improvement process that in the last few years has led the Ferretto Group to establish a new department focusing on the development of new safety procedures and tools. This article addresses a perhaps less evident, but equally important, aspect related to the creation of a storage system that combines efficiency and safety. So, put on your helmet and safety shoes: we are headed to the job site.
Safety management: a multifaceted process
Safety management is a complex activity for those who, like the Ferretto Group, design and manufacture entire storage solutions in-house. Compliance with all safety requirements must, in fact, guide the design and production of all structural and technological components, the development of dedicated software, the construction of complex systems as well as their commissioning and testing. Talking about safety means talking about design choices, materials analysis, and risk prevention both for the manufacturer’s personnel and for final users, not to mention the many risk factors existing in complex construction sites.
The work on-site for the installation of a storage system is one of the most delicate phases in terms of safety. In most cases, in fact, logistics is managed in specific sites with special physical and environmental characteristics. Sometimes the dedicated structures are new, but in many cases technicians are called to work inside active industrial facilities or in construction sites where new production areas are being built. In all these cases we work in synergy with a variety of other subjects, including specialist companies, in order to guarantee the proper construction and installation of each individual system. Therefore, not only technical aspects but also those related to safety need to be precisely coordinated. It is team work that must be done with clients, safety coordinators, control bodies, third party contractors. This complex activity must be managed together, starting from the verification of the design with regard to safety all the way through the continuous control of the work in progress, until its completion.
If each construction site is different from the others, the ability to identify "custom" solutions even in terms of safety becomes a decisive factor for the effectiveness of the construction process. There are also situations in which innovative systems are needed. That was the case when the Ferretto Group was requested to build 2 automatic multi-depth satellite self-supporting storage systems for an Italian company operating in the cereal processing and trade industry. We found it impossible to use normal basket lifts or scaffolding to install the cladding panels. The solution was the exceptional use of equipment not actually designed for the transport of people. In that case the workers were lifted in a basket by a traditional mobile crane. In other cases, as it happened for an indoor automatic storage system, it has been necessary to study specific independent paths in order to guarantee maximum safety even in the presence of business operations in nearby areas.
On-site safety is the result of different and qualified expertise and skills, combined with constantly updated knowledge of changing regulations and of the new solutions and technologies available on the market. This is why the Ferretto Group decided to build an agile and efficient team, directly supervised by the management and composed of administrative and technical staff at the headquarters, as well as site managers at the job sites. The team includes an engineer with experience in the management of large construction sites and in the coordination of safety in big projects. He is in charge of ensuring the requirements of Art. 97 of Italian Legislative Decree 81/08 are fulfilled, including the internal coordination of activities, the continuous updating of construction practices, the verification of construction phases, and the examination of complex situations with clients and contractors.
All the activities implemented have the fulfillment of legal obligations, and consequently the safety of operators, as their first and fundamental aim. But this is not sufficient: the Ferretto Group is working to ensure that these obligations become good daily practices and a work method shared with contractors. This way of seeing things is reflected in a whole set of procedures: