Safety on the Loading Dock

semi backed up to 5 bay loading dock

Wondering about the safety on the loading dock? If so, then you are in the right place. When it comes to your and your employees’ safety, you need to be careful in every way. You need to train your employees, spread awareness about possible injuries or falls, and use the necessary equipment. 

Moreover, there are several things that you need to learn to ensure the security of yourself and your fellow workers. This is why we have mentioned some tips that you can implement to reduce the risk of falls, injuries, and other problems on the loading dock. Let’s discuss them.

Securing Trailers to Docks

It is essential to verify the automatic vehicle restraints or wheel chocks when trailers are set to the dock to unload or load. This is because these systems prevent the trailer from separating from the trailer creep or dock. Additionally, the automatic restraints clasp into the rear impact guard. They also give you additional security, as the door locks hold the truck and trailer against the building. If you are using a dock plate, try to check it before using, and ensure whether it can safely and easily support the load. 

You might know that trailer can move due to the pressure of lift equipment when it exits and enters the trailer. This is why you need to secure it for safety purposes. You also need to be cautious with your trailer’s front end. Apart from this, you also need trailer jacks to load trailers alone to avoid delays. 

Using Barriers to Prevent Falls

Generally, trailer owners elevate loading docks four feet or more above the ground. This way, dock boards, ramps, or other bridging equipment can help you efficiently move shipments and materials. Some people also let the loading dock doors open to provide sunlight, ventilation, and easy traffic. 

However, experts recommend following appropriate safety protocols. Organizations need to raise and spread awareness about the fall hazards because of the opening of the dock. The workers should know that it can be fatal even when the dock is slightly raised, like four feet. You need to reset the chains, scissor gates, railings, and other barriers every time the overhead door is open. You also need to restrict the access of people to the fall hazard spot to avoid accidents. 

Unload and Load Correctly 

It is vital that workers who are dealing with the dock have the proper training to load and unload the shipment. Use dollies, forklifts, and other equipment instead of lifting the materials by yourself. If you are planning to use pallets and lift skids, avoid using them alone. Always ask for help rather than making it a DIY task. 

Furthermore, when you lift these accessories, ensure to maintain proper posture to avoid back injuries or backaches. In this case, bend on your knees and try to keep your back as straight as possible. This way, your legs do the job, not your back. Loading or unloading the materials from the trailer can hurt your hands. Thus, always wear snug-fitting gloves since they offer you excellent grip while loading, unloading, and lifting. Make sure to secure and balance hand truckloads to keep the load height at a level that you can see the other side.

Use Automatic Vehicle Restraints

Although this is the most important thing that every loading dock must include, many people still don’t use it. Automatic vehicle restraints can reduce contamination, prevent theft, and provide safety to dock workers safety. 

An automatic restraint wrap present on the rear impact guard of trailers can strongly and efficiently secure the trailer to the dock. When installed properly, it offers you a secure connection between the trailer and resistant wrap, making it hard for contaminants to enter the building. 

Create Safer Paths for Forklifts and People

An important thing you need to do is to use the Safe-T-Signal Intersection Warning System. It communicates and detects the potential danger at blind corners and intersections throughout your entire facility and at your loading docks to improve safety. 

Not to mention, the ceiling-mounted signal will communicate when it gets the signals of the oncoming traffic. Once they get the signal, they start communicating with the approaching traffic using high-intensity LED lights, such as the blue light, on the floor. 

Take Precautions to Prevent Falls

You might not take it seriously, but falls can lead to severe injuries. This is why it is crucial to limit any risk of falling while working near the loading dock. Besides, don’t ever try to run on it or push each other in fun. Do remember that this is a dangerous place, and taking it lightly can be fatal for you. 

Moreover, always stay away from the loading dock edges. Try to be as far as you can from the edge. You can also wear high-quality, sturdy boots or shoes that support both ankle and foot. Don’t look down while walking on the dock. You can collide with the items present on the loading deck, which can become the cause of your fall. 

Keep Floors Clean and Dry

For safety on the loading dock, you need to ensure regular maintenance. Keep the dock clean and dry all the time. Keep packaging, tools, containers, and other materials out of the drinking and walking passage. After cleaning the dock, make sure to dispose of all the trash immediately. 

Also, put oily rags and other types of combustible trash in closed containers. If you notice any spills, clean the surface immediately. In the case of rain and snow, watch out for melting ice or dripping rain near your loading dock. Lastly, if you notice any broken or cracked concrete floor, report it to the concerned authorities as soon as possible. 

Bottom Line

So, now you know how you can ensure safety on the loading dock. Make sure to incorporate all the mentioned strategies in your daily work to prevent any possible problems. If you plan to use any equipment, try to purchase high-quality and durable items.

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