The bollard is “a short, sturdy vertical post” which has been used since the 17th century, for over 200 years, on quaysides to help moor ships. They were originally made from old cannons, which were buried in the ground muzzle-first, leaving the rear end projecting above the ground.
Later, various forms of bollard were used to prevent damage to residential and commercial buildings from carriages, horse carts, and motor vehicles travelling down narrow streets.
The bollards have evolved over time and today they are used to address security and safety issues, manage traffic and prevent traffic accidents in our modern world.
The various uses for bollards are as follows:
Security bollards for buildings and infrastructure
Security bollards are an essential part of a perimeter security solution, designed to physically stop unauthorised vehicles from entering or exiting the site or spaces. Retractable bollards are generally used in high-security industries that require authorisation, as access control systems that are designed to stop vehicles from entering or exiting.
Security bollards are rated high impact and anti-cutting models, providing protection from ram raids and vehicle-borne terrorist attacks. Ram raiding has become the most common method of illegal intrusion and method of theft into retail and industrial properties. Security bollards provide the first line of defence in preventing ram raids and illegal forced entry. Generally, the visual deterrent is all that is needed; however, bollards are designed to physically stop vehicles from entering or leaving an area or building.
Bollards can be used on a work site to prevent damage to buildings, by protecting doors and walls from damage through collisions with forklifts, trolleys, and so forth. As many commercial or industrial businesses spend money each year repairing damage from such incidents, safety bollards can be the alternative in saving time and money.
Restrictive access to manage outcomes
Erecting bollards in front of glass doors or entryways, cuts down on the likelihood of the doors or business front being rammed. Bollards act as an impediment to vandalism, theft, and other crimes by sending a subconscious signal that other barriers and security features exist to protect the building.
Different situations will require specific types of security bollards that vary in size and shape. Embedded and surface mounted fixed posts provide permanent heavy-duty protection from vehicle impact and are ideal for high security applications. Collapsible models are also suitable for heavy-duty security, but unlike fixed posts, users can raise or lower them to change security levels.
Removable posts allow for temporary changes such as traffic movement or allowing authorised vehicles through. These bollards are not ideal for high security applications as they are meant to serve primarily as highly visible traffic deterrents.
Traffic Management in industrial settings
Traffic Management involves the safe movement of vehicles such as cars, trucks, and buses as well as pedestrians and mobile powered plants like forklifts within work sites.
Bollards prevent motor vehicles from accessing trails, walking paths, or other pedestrian areas, and can be used to mark off certain spots like exclusive parking zones. Bollards can be set up to prevent unauthorised parking near loading zones, or direct forklift drivers on planned routes.
Using bollard for traffic management also ensures the safety of contractors, road users and traffic controllers at roadworks sites which is paramount to road authorities, as part of their duty of care to workers and the broader community.
Various types of areas and work sites experience pedestrian traffic and depending on the flow, bollards can be selected to manage both high and low security levels. For example, hospitals and stores often experience heavy pedestrian traffic and might require more vehicle access restriction, while streetscapes and other locations might only need temporary access control and protection.
In town planning, safety bollards are often used to form barriers between street traffic and pedestrians on the footpath particularly where construction and maintenance work is being carried out. Workplaces can implement a similar system in parking garages, warehouses, and factories to ensure that workers feel safe walking around the premises.
Aesthetics with distinct traffic control
Gates, walls, fences, and railings can often be unsightly, impairing the aesthetics of a park, street, shopping precinct, or business. Safety bollards are designed to blend into the space, yet provide the protection function of any barrier, yet in a more aesthetically appealing way.
Decorative bollards make places where people congregate, like shopping malls, look visually pleasing. These bollards create physical and visual barriers for vehicles, without taking away from the aesthetic of a landscape or architectural style. Decorative posts prevent vehicle access to pedestrian-only areas, while allowing foot traffic to pass unimpeded.
While security and safety bollards have evolved over time, they still play an important role in implementing safety measures and mitigating risk in the workplace. Depending on the application, heavy-duty and light-duty bollard post options are available. High security barricades offer more physical protection, whilst lightweight traffic posts provide the same effective visual deterrence.