Five Top Tips for Loading Dock Safety
Your loading dock is one of the busiest areas of your warehouse, it's also one of the most dangerous. Here are a few safety tips to make your dock a safer place.
Check your loading dock regularly for hazards. Are there oily, wet, or broken floor surfaces? Are the edges of the dock clearly marked and highly visible? Better yet, do you have appropriate guard rails, dock barricades, stops or bollards in place to prevent personnel and equipment from going over the dock edge? Are all dock plates fully secured when in use? Are trailers always securely chocked or restrained when they are at the dock? Do you have appropriate ventilation so that truck exhaust or other fumes dissipate quickly? Are all of your personnel trained on proper lifting and carrying form when manually carrying heavy items? Have they received forklift pedestrian training? Are there any blind spots where lift truck collisions are likely to happen?
Keep your floor surfaces unobstructed, clean and in good shape. Check that all tools, packaging, containers and other items are kept safely out of lift truck and pedestrian paths. Make sure exposed areas of the dock are fully sheltered from rain, snow and ice to prevent slippery surfaces. Have a spill kit available for cleanup of oil or other substances. Have personnel available that are trained to properly clean up any chemicals, broken glass or hazardous materials on your dock. Look for any cracks or broken concrete and have them checked and/or repaired. Clearly mark dock edges and areas that are off limits to pedestrians.
Regularly inspect and schedule maintenance on all of your equipment. Your docks, levelers, restraint systems and doors should all be inspected on a regular basis. Identifying potential problems before they occur can prevent accidents and downtime. Your equipment should also be on a periodic maintenance schedule to ensure that it’s always in good working condition.
Add as many safety features as your budget allows. A single dock injury can easily result in very serious injury or death. More often than not, injury cases can also lead to expensive legal action. Protect your business by taking as many safety precautions as possible. If you don’t already have an automated trailer restraint and interlock system, get one. Trailer creep accidents can be deadly. Make sure that your system includes a visual dock light communication package so that drivers and dock workers are on the same page. Add barricades, safety barrier lips, bollards and clear visual markings to prevent both equipment and personnel falls.
Implement a continuous training and feedback program. Most accidents happen when people don’t follow basic dock safety rules. It’s vital that every new employee is fully trained on safety practices, but it’s equally important that all employees are continuously conscious of your safety program. Implement a system that makes safety violations effortless to report and respond to every submission promptly. Regularly review safety violations with your workers and use them as an ongoing educational opportunity. Reward your team for safety compliance through recognition, perks or bonuses. Make sure that anyone that sets foot on your loading dock is given a safety overview and is supervised by fully trained personnel.
If would like to learn more about dock safety equipment, contact a loading dock specialist at Raymond West by calling 562-944-8067.