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Five Loading Dock Safety Tips

As we all know, loading docks are essential for every business that ships or receives product. For many businesses, these docks are in use all day, every day. The more workers that use the docking area, the higher chance of mistakes being made potentially causing injury. Many times, employees take light of how dangerous a loading dock can be and do not follow the required safety procedures.

Here are 5 dock safety tips that your employees should always check before doing any work:

Ensure workers acquire adequate training.

Training is one of the easiest ways to dramatically decrease the risk of an accident taking place. It is imperative that all associates working around equipment have in depth knowledge on how to operate and conduct work in these areas. Safety at loading docks is at the utmost of importance because 25% of all industrial accident happen at docks.

Install dock guard

All over the Internet, you will find countless examples of people, equipment and product falling out of an open loading dock. OSHA regulations detail that every 4’ drop must have a physical barrier or guard in place to decrease the risk of accidents occurring. Guard rails and blockades have shown to be successful in preventing injury, but folding gates, ropes and chains are also great safety options. These products should become an essential item in warehouses as people are 250% more likely to be killed when falling off a loading dock on a forklift.

Docking area must be debris and liquid free

All warehouse locations should strive to keep their areas clear of garbage and spills. It is especially important at the loading dock. As a forklift is unloading a trailer, if it were to drive over any sort of debris it could shift the pallet causing equipment and product to fall – potentially causing injury. Spills that are not taken care of can cause employees to slip. It is incredibly important to ensure your work area is clean to prevent these things from occurring. Often warehouses purchase floor sweepers and scrubbers to help keep their dock area and entire warehouse safe and clean.

Double check that the trailer is secure

Before loading and unloading product from a trailer, an employee needs to confirm the trailer is secure and in the right location for safe operation. The trailer needs to be backed all the way to the tire bumpers so the bridge can securely land on the trailer. This can be done with wheel chocks and vehicle restraints. Additionally, there needs to be clear communication with the truck driver, so they do not drive off or move the trailer when loading or unloading is taking place.

Forklift operator safety and awareness

All workers utilizing forklifts should be certified to operate such equipment. A forklift is a dangerous vehicle and can cause serious injury if not controlled correctly. Secondly, the operator and workers in the area need to be aware of their surroundings to avoid a potential accident from taking place. In the United States alone there are 7,700 forklift accidents at loading docks every year. On average 21 of them happen each day. Working around a dock increases risks when there is an untrained operator in the equation.

Safety should always be the first priority, but for many people it is the last. Not taking dock safety seriously can lead to injury or even the death of a worker.

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