Safety Tip of the Week – Safety at Loading Docks

Loading docks are hubs of activity in manufacturing plants, warehouses, industrial buildings, and distribution centers. In most companies, this is the primary location of movement of product in and out of a facility.

Loading Dock Hazards:

The loading dock area must be inspected regularly to identify potential hazards that may include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls caused by floor conditions, poor housekeeping, or dock edge;
  • Forklifts overturning;
  • Pedestrian and powered truck collision;
  • Trailer creep, which can cause a gap between the trailer and dock;
  • Moving unsecured loads;
  • Struck by and being crushed by an object or load;
  • Back injuries from improper lifting or carrying;
  • Inadequate lighting, especially in the trailer; and
  • Carbon monoxide exposure from truck and powered material-handling equipment.

Controlling Loading Dock Hazards:

You can reduce loading dock hazards by:

  • Shutting off engine and engaging the break while loading or unloading vehicle;
  • Preventing trailer creep by using wheel chocks and vehicle restraints;
  • Painting the edges of the loading dock to improve visibility;
  • Providing physical barriers at dock edges when not in use;
  • Ensuring dock plates have appropriate capacity, stability, and proper placement;
  • Preventing employees from riding on material handling equipment;
  • Providing adequate lighting at the dock and in trailers;
  • Shrink-wrapping loose product for transport or storage; and
  • Maintaining good housekeeping and cleaning up the area regularly.

Safe operating procedures, general awareness, employee training, and enforcement of safety practices can all improve loading dock safety.

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