A loading dock separation accident is one in which a truck moves away from the dock while a forklift operator is unloading or loading the truck. Loading dock separation accidents can cause serious, long-term injuries or, even worse, fatalities for forklift operators.
There are four extremely common kinds of loading dock separation accidents that can happen, but preventative safety measures can minimize the risk of them happening in your facility.
Early Departure (Aggressive Pullout)
The first common type of loading dock separation accidents is an early departure, also known as an aggressive pullout. This happens when the driver of a truck that is not secured to the loading dock leaves the dock while a forklift operator is in the trailer, entering the trailer, or is exiting the trailer.
The truck driver may make a mistake, thinking that the truck is loaded or unloaded and ready to go. But if the forklift operator is entering or exiting the trailer when the driver pulls away from the loading dock, the forklift will either run off the end of the dock or tip over. Injuries to the forklift operator could be severe, if not fatal.
Another common type of loading dock separation accident is trailer creep. Trailer creep occurs when a truck is not secured to the dock, and the container moves away from the dock leveler when the forklift moves in and out of the truck.
All-too-often, the truck will slightly shift forward as the forklift enters and exits the trailer, creating a gap that can cause the forklift to turn over or fall into the gap, which could result in serious, if not fatal, injuries to the forklift operator.
Trailer tip-over is another common loading dock separation accident. This occurs when the landing gear underneath an unsecured truck collapses, which causes the trailer to turn over. This type of loading dock separation accident could damage or destroy the products in the trailer, and worse, could severely injure or kill a forklift operator.
Trailer pop-ups occur when a truck is not secured to the loading dock, and the weight of the forklift causes the other end of the trailer to angle up away from the loading dock.
Everything inside the lifted trailer will slide down away from the raised end. The forklift operator could suffer serious injuries, and whatever is still in the container and on the forklift could be damaged or destroyed.
Preventing Loading Dock Separation Accidents
Many loading dock safety parts and systems can help prevent loading dock separation accidents. In the four common types of loading dock separation accidents described here, top-quality vehicle restraints and locking systems that secure the truck to the loading dock from the top, bottom, and sides are an excellent preventative safety measure that your facility should have in place to adequately address the potential of loading dock separation accidents.
In addition to vehicle restraints, wheel chocks are another safety measure that can be employed to secure trucks to loading docks and help prevent trailer creep.
The safety of loading dock workers, especially forklift operators, can be even further enhanced, with the vehicle restraint and safety systems and parts in use, with loading dock communication systems. These systems are specifically designed to let everybody in the loading dock area, including truck drivers, know when it is safe to unload or load products and when a truck is cleared to leave the loading dock, which will help prevent early departure loading dock separation accidents.
Call Us Today
Parts Brite proudly carries top-quality aftermarket loading dock parts, including a wide array of safety equipment. We have a full line of dock parts that can fulfill any specific needs your facility has. Our sales office is based in southern California, but we have distribution warehouses in both Wisconsin and California, which enable us to ship dock parks anywhere in the United States rapidly. Call us at 1-855-PARTSBRITE (1-855-727-8727).