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How to Safely Use a Loading Dock: 7 Easy Tips

How to Safely Use a Loading Dock: 7 Easy Tips

How to Safely Use a Loading Dock

Loading docks are so common that it’s easy to forget how dangerous they can be. There are thousands of reported falls, equipment accidents, and trailer creep every year, and many of those are fatal. Your proactivity as an employer can help keep your employees safe and prevent accidents.

Accident Prevention

  1. Clean and maintain the loading dock. Slips, trips, and falls are common, and forklifts can slide on wet or slippery docks. Always check that your loading dock is dry. Consider building a dock shelter to keep rain and snow off the loading dock.

    Mark the floor with tape or paint to identify where employees can and cannot walk. Painting the edges of the loading dock with a bright color can help forklift operators stay aware of the edge.

  2. Provide proper dock lighting.

  3. Train your employees. This goes beyond forklift training; all employees must be aware of safety hazards and how to avoid them, even if they’re not operating machinery. 
  4. Adhere to OSHA regulations and implement a daily inspection.

  5. Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Poorly ventilated warehouses can cause carbon monoxide buildup from vehicles. Maintain carbon monoxide alarms and be sure your loading dock is properly ventilated. Create a plan for if the detectors go off, and make sure your employees know what to do. 
  6. Keep product secure on pallets. You can wrap product in plastic if it doesn’t come to your warehouse pre-wrapped. Unsecured product could lead to a serious accident by falling on an employee or affecting the dock/trailer attachment.
  7. Secure trailer restraints to lock the trailer in place and avoid “trailer creep.” Fall-throughs from trailer creep are one of the most frequent accidents in the loading dock area. Trucks can separate from the loading dock and cause employees or forklifts to fall. Properly secure the vehicle to the loading dock, use a dock leveler, and always check for trailer creep while loading.

Final thoughts: 

Your team should never treat forklifts and loading docks lightly. Docks are an important part of warehouse operation, but your team needs to be prepared to handle the job safely. 

Does your loading dock need repairs? Do your forklift operators need training? Contact us

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