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An Easy Guide to Prepping Your Loading Docks for Winter

An Easy Guide to Prepping Your Loading Docks for Winter

Even if you’re a fan of winter, your loading docks are not. Snow, ice, salt, and cold weather can wreak havoc on your docks and doors. 

This comprehensive checklist will help get your loading docks and warehouse ready for winter.


Equipment Preparation

Inspect and maintain your equipment. 

Because your loading dock opens to the outside, it’s more vulnerable to the elements. It’s also got a lot of moving parts that are easily affected by winter weather. 

You should always schedule preventative maintenance before and after winter to make sure your dock is in good condition. It’s important to check that dock levelers, dock doors, and door tracks are working with no cracks or gaps. 

Download our Dock & Door PM Checklist to see what Hugg & Hall technicians check during a regular PM service.

You can do the following steps yourself in between PM services. It’ll help prevent major issues later on. 

  • Check dock levelers, doors, and seals for any damage or wear. 
  • Clean the components regularly. Salt and sand can get in the mechanisms of your dock equipment. 
  • Lubricate hinges, rollers, and other moving parts to prevent freezing. 

Interested in learning more about dock & door maintenance? Check out our blog post!


Get a dock seal or shelter for proper sealing and insulation. 

Dock seals and shelters offer a couple of important features. Not only will your warehouse stay warmer, it’ll stay drier. Without a seal or shelter, your dock area will get wet in rainy or snowy conditions. It could cause a costly and dangerous accident. 

It’s a good idea to get your dock seals or shelters inspected along with the rest of your equipment. If you can see light through your dock seals, it’s time to replace or repair them. Additionally, if you feel cold air near your dock seals when the doors haven’t been open for a while, you may have a leak. 


Use vehicle restraints in addition to wheel chocks. 

When it’s icy, your wheel chocks can slip and cause trailer creep or dock walk. Forklifts can fall from the trailer if the gap becomes wide enough. 

Trailer creep can be fatal. Thankfully, it’s easy to limit the risk. Use vehicle restraints or portable jack stands to help prevent injuries. 


Facility Management

Shovel and salt the areas around your facility. 

If precipitation is expected and it’s below freezing, it’s time to salt around your facility to prevent ice accumulation. Even a small amount of snow can melt and refreeze, creating layers of ice. 

Need help shoveling larger amounts of snow? Hugg & Hall rents skid steers and attachments that are great for clearing the area around your facility. Contact us for more information! 


Check your doormats. 

Doormats take a beating in the winter months. They’re also one of the easiest ways to prevent slips, trips, and falls. 

If your employees come in with wet shoes and don’t use a mat, they’re unintentionally putting themselves and others at risk. Slips and falls can happen to anyone, especially when the floor is wet.

Regularly check your doormats and make sure they are laying flat and that the material isn’t starting to peel. 


Test heaters before the first cold spell. 

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. The last thing you want is to show up to a frigid workspace. 


Ensure your facility has proper drainage. 

Clear out your drainage systems before winter to prevent water buildup around drains. 


Watch for wet floors.

Just because you’ve got doormats at the entrances doesn’t mean the dock plates won’t be slippery. Your team should clean and dry the dock boards or plates after every use.  


Have your emergency equipment ready to go. 

Create emergency kits in case of power outages or other unexpected situations. Kits should include bottled water, nutritious snacks, blankets, and a flashlight.

Make sure fire extinguishers are fully charged and easily accessible, especially if you’re utilizing space heaters. 



Winter offers up unique challenges, but if you’re prepared, you can minimize the risks. 


Need new dock equipment? Hugg & Hall’s parts team sells dock seals and shelters, edge of dock levelers, dock plates, dock lifts, and more. Contact our parts team or shop our catalog today! 

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