Safety must always be at the forefront of all loading dock activity. When the pace of traffic is hectic and the speed at which trucks get in and out impacts productivity and daily operations, safety can be compromised. When this happens, serious injury accidents could occur and the facility and vehicles could be damaged. To prevent this, proper safety tools should be installed. These tools should be accompanied by thorough employee training to prevent accidents in the loading dock area.
When the correct safety tools are used, the risk of injuries, death, loss of equipment, loss of vehicles, and loss of products is minimized. This not only ensures a safe workplace, but also an optimal environment for maximum production, maximum distribution, and maximum profits.
Below are five loading dock safety tools that can help improve safety at your facility’s loading dock:
One common safety concern at loading docks is preventing trucks and trailers from moving while they are being loaded or unloaded. Workers on foot and forklift drivers are put in serious danger when vehicles shift or roll.
Loading dock vehicle restraints are a tool that ensures that trucks remain securely at the dock until they are cleared to leave. Typical loading dock vehicle restraints include wheel chocks and rear impact guard locking devices.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that wheel chocks alone are not sufficient to prevent trucks from moving away from the dock as result of the momentum of unloading and loading (this is known as “truck creep”). Therefore, a rear impact guard (RIG) locking device, which includes an LED light communication system that both the driver and the loading dock worker use, is the best way to make sure that trucks are secured at loading docks until they are ready to depart.
A second concern that should be addressed is how to prevent injuries to both loading dock workers and non-loading dock workers on the dock and in the warehouse/production area. Facility managers should also focus on protecting the interior of the facility when corners or other spaces are tight for forklifts to maneuver around.
Dock guarding devices are vital tools that protect people, equipment, and the facility itself. Common types of guarding devices are stops, bollards, guardrails, and dock barricades.
Stops are steel plates that are installed along elevated locations on loading docks and in warehouses to protect people and equipment from falling over the edges of these raised locations. Bollards are used to prevent structural damage from forklifts in hard-to-maneuver areas at the loading dock and within the facility.
Guardrails are used to route non-loading dock personnel into a safe walking path so that they are not run over by forklifts moving around the facility. They are also sometimes used to protect loading dock workers from falling off an open dock when no trucks are being loaded or unloaded. Dock barricades are installed to visually assist forklift operators so that they do not accidentally drive off the edge of the loading dock.
Dock levelers are an essential tool for loading docks that helps prevent accidents by correcting height differences between trucks and loading docks and closing the gap between the dock and the trailer. Dock levelers are permanent installations that can be operated manually, hydraulically, or using air pressure. For facilities where loading dock traffic is constant, a dock leveler is a crucial piece of equipment. How much dock capacity (number of bays), dock traffic (light, medium, heavy), and operating budget is available are the primary factors that will often determine which kind of dock leveler is right for any given facility.
Poor lighting around the loading dock area is also extremely hazardous. It is important to make sure the entire area (including the inside of the trailer) is illuminated to make loading and unloading safer.
High-powered loading dock lights should be installed throughout the loading dock area. There are many industrial lighting solutions designed specifically for loading docks.
A signal lighting system is also recommended for loading dock areas for better safety for both workers and truck drivers. A signal lighting system can be used to communicate the status of trucks that are already at the loading dock and trucks that are coming into the loading dock. This will help prevent accidents at the loading dock and it will help make the flow of traffic more efficient.
A dock guide light set is another lighting solution that increases loading dock safety and can help prevent potential damage to dock seals, the building, and equipment. This is especially helpful at night or in inclement weather because the dock guide lights illuminate the entire area around the loading dock, which provides increased visibility for the truck drivers. These lights help truck drivers accurately align the trailer with the dock door when they are backing up to the dock.
A common concern at loading docks is the structural damage to the facility and vehicle when a truck accidentally backs into the building. By installing loading dock bumpers (also known as dock pads) you will have a dock loading safety tool that can prevent damage to either a truck or the building itself.
Dock bumpers are made out of rubber and are designed to be resistant to both abrasions and to weather, making them a durable piece of safety equipment to have in place.
Contact the Dock Part Specialists Today
PartsBrite.com specializes in offering you the highest-quality aftermarket loading dock parts. We serve all companies with loading docks, and we provide you with loading dock parts that are designed to fulfill your facility’s specific needs. Our sales office is in southern California, and we have distribution warehouses in both California and Wisconsin. This means that no matter where you are in the United States, we can get your loading dock parts to you quickly. Contact us at 1-855-PARTSBRITE (1-855-727-8727) today.