Loading Dock Approach Considerations

Loading Dock Approach, level, incline, and decline

Loading docks can frequently involve many moving parts, and different docks can have different approaches. In addition to the level grade approach, a loading dock might have an inclined approach or a decline approach. The steeper the incline or decline, the more likely it is that a company will have loading dock issues.

Different types of loading dock approaches have specific problems that must be solved by facility managers. The different dock approach dangers and solutions include:


Decline Approach Dangers

The major problem with a decline approach, in which the ground slopes down toward the building, is that the top of the trailer risks striking the building. Dock bumper projection is highly recommended in such circumstances.

In some cases, it may be necessary to cantilever the dock leveler pit away from the foundation wall to prevent the top of the trailer from hitting the wall. Decline approaches also put cargo at an increased risk of tipping over or falling.


Incline Approach Dangers

With an incline-approach dock, the ground slopes upward toward the building. With these types of dock approaches, it is the guards at the rear of trailers, called ICC bars that may strike the building when backing in. 

Similar to decline approaches, incline approaches can also lead to the possible toppling of cargo. Additionally, an inclined approach can place greater stress on certain types of material handling equipment.


Determining Dock Approach Grade

The ideal design for a loading dock is a slightly inclined approach that allows water to run away from the building and does not impede the positioning of trailers. It is generally a best practice for most facilities to have six inches of bumper protection.

Dock bumper projections are determined based on the percentage of grade. The grade can be calculated by measuring the difference in height from dock level to a fixed point 50 feet directly out from the dock. The height is divided by the length measured in inches and decline approaches generally should not exceed 10 percent to ensure efficient dock operations.


Preventing Loading Dock Approach Accidents

Many loading dock approach accidents can be avoided through the proper use of loading dock safety parts and systems. Even level dock approaches need to have specific safety equipment in place to prevent approach accidents.

Whether you have an inline, decline, or incline approach, top-quality vehicle locking systems and restraints that secure trucks to the loading dock from the top, bottom, and sides are essential pieces of equipment that can help minimize the likelihood of loading dock approach accidents. Wheel chocks are another safety measure that can be deployed to prevent trucks from rolling while at an incline or decline dock.

The safety of forklift operators and other loading dock workers can be further enhanced by restraint and safety systems and parts used alongside loading dock communication systems. Such systems allow all people in a loading dock area—including truck drivers—to know when a truck has safely approached a loading dock.


Call Us Today

Parts Brite sells top-quality aftermarket loading dock parts, including a wide array of safety equipment. All of our loading dock equipment parts come with a limited one-year warranty.

While our sales office is based in southern California, we have distribution warehouses in Wisconsin and California, so we can ship dock parts anywhere in the United States. Call us today at 1-855-PARTSBRITE (1-855-727-8727) to get the parts that you need.

Paul Hildebrandt
Owner, Parts Brite

My background is in Electrical and Software Engineering, but since I started PartsBrite.com in 2016, I've focused on everything related to docks.   
My team and I are here to help those looking to repair or replace their dock levelers, bumpers, door, and door lights.

1-855-PartsBrite  |   partsbrite.com  |   paul@partsbrite.com

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