Brad Ellis, Automation Project Engineer at Zicam, speaks to TPSO Magazine about bollard safety

Brad Ellis, Automation Project Engineer at Zicam, speaks to TPSO Magazine about bollard safety:

What are the different kinds of bollards?

An electric drive system is a traditional method of raising and lowering automatic bollards. An electric motor moves a piston in the cylinder to operate the bollard. Automatic electric bollards have exceptional precision control and make the least amount of noise when they’re working.

Pneumatic bollards rely on compressed air that drives a piston in a linear direction inside a cylinder. The benefits of pneumatic bollards include simple, accurate operation along with lower cost and fewer maintenance requirements.

Automatic hydraulic bollards include an incompressible fluid and pump system that produces a linear motion. A hydraulic retractable bollard system creates a driving force up to 25 times greater than its pneumatic bollard counterpart, making it the better choice for heavy-duty applications.

What are key elements in risk assessment when installing bollards?

When undertaking the risk assessment prior to installing an automated rising bollard, consideration should be given to several elements:                                                                                                          

  • The need to keep pedestrians away from the bollard to ensure that they cannot be activated under an unsuspecting person or even a pushchair/wheelchair   
  • Recognising that vehicles using the bollard need to be directed by traffic control lights along with signage which will clearly indicate when it is safe to go through the control        
  • Installing the bollard so that it is as fail-safe as possible, in the lowered position                             
  • Providing a clear pathway to emergency services in the event that they need to gain access to the area                                           

As per an automated gate, when the installation is complete a thorough safety audit should be undertaken before the automated bollard is set live, to check that the system is as safe as it can be and that it meets the original objectives.

Who should carry out the risk assessment?

The risk assessment should be carried out by a fully trained and competent employee of the qualified and certified company that is carrying out the installation of the automated bollards. A risk assessment should be conducted for all civil works required all the way through to installing and commissioning the bollards.

What are some good in-built safety features?

The main in-built safety feature for automatic bollards is the device encoder and integrated obstacle detection meaning that if any obstacle is on the bollard when it is rising, the in-built encoder will recognise this and lower the bollard immediately, making it a fail-safe device. This safety device will work in conjunction with other safety accessories and signage. Another in-built safety device are the LED lights which allow the bollard to be seen rising and falling at any time of day or night.

Can you tell us a little about operator fields of view and the importance of checking CCTV quality during day/night/inclement weather?

The most important part of specifying and designing CCTV coverage on automated bollards is the type of camera to be used. When the correct style of camera is utilised all areas of an automated bollard are captured; this includes the approach and departure from the area. Another vital aspect is lighting which we incorporate into our design at Zicam, and this can include white light or infra-red illuminators. With this in place, images are of a high clarity no matter what weather conditions occur.

It is important to always check the CCTV quality during all types of weather as well as at different times of day. The operator will always need full view of the bollards to see who to grant access to and who to reject from the site. CCTV is a vital piece of equipment as it can help if there is an accident with the bollards to determine if it is a system failure or user error. We recommend always ensuring the area is well lit at night to help with this.

What signage and safety features – and other statutory requirements – are needed for bollards to be safely installed?

There are various devices that can be used to ensure bollards are safely installed. These are as follows:

Induction loops
An induction is an electromagnetic detection system which uses a moving magnet or an alternating current to induce an electric current in a nearby wire. Induction loops are used for detection of metal objects for vehicle presence indicators, which will help with vehicle safety.

BEA LZR Scanners
The BEA LZRs offer a real alternative to induction loops allowing the detection of all types of vehicles and offering greater adaptability by being able to detect pedestrians also. This laser sensor is used to open, secure and/or detect a presence. It offers great flexibility in defining the width and depth of the detection zones.

Traffic light system
A good traffic light system will give any user the visual indication of when to pass and when not to. The indications of the signals can be seen easily in foggy weather or at night. The traffic signals help with the safe movement of all users where the bollards are located and assist in the movement of the bollards to warn everyone prior to the bollards’ movement.

Traffic signs or road signs located around the bollard in direct view of anyone using the system will help to give instructions or provide information to road users regarding the bollards. For example, a sign might read ‘Bollards rise after every vehicle’ or ‘No tailgating’. These signs will give clear instructions to users to help prevent accidents. Make sure all signs are well lit and can be seen in all types of weather, during the day or night.

What are some examples of instances when it is not appropriate to use bollards?

At a site such as a logistics centre, a bollard would not be a practical option – firstly due to the amount of use that will be required from the bollard, and as most bollards only come up out of the ground 800mm it would be hard to HGV drivers to see them which could lead to issues.

Another example could be gated communities – while bollards would successfully stop non-residents from entering private roads within the communities, they would not be able to stop any pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists from entering the area.

About Zicam:

Zicam is a national company based in the Midlands. Zicam has specialised in state-of-the-art surveillance and detection security systems for the past 25 years. The company’s knowledge and experience mean it can offer the ultimate in protection for both commercial and industrial arenas.

The attention to detail is second to none which is why it have retained a long list of loyal clients throughout the UK & Ireland, including a host of blue-chip companies