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How to Increase Safety at the Loading Dock

DockImpactBarrierSafety at the loading dock should be an important focus for any company that has one. Twenty-five percent of all warehouse accidents currently occur at the loading dock, but with a dedicated focus on implementing both additional training and safety measures, companies can lower those numbers and save themselves and their employees both suffering and expense.

One of the most common ways warehouse injuries and accidents occur is via falls or skidding off of the end of the loading dock. All workers must be aware of the length of the loading dock and exactly where it ends, because, while walking off a four-foot drop off is dangerous, driving off of it on a forklift can and has resulted in workplace fatalities. Unfortunately, loading docks tend to be very busy places with continuous traffic of both company employees and other workers, moving vehicles, noise, and other chaotic distractions. With all of this going on, how can they be made safer for all of the people who must navigate them every day?

While the most effective way of curtailing these falling and skidding accidents is to make sure that all loading dock doors are shut when not in use, sometimes circumstances make this impractical, and, of course, procedure and practice often differ in real life. While there is no substitute for training workers to be continually aware of the movement of trailers and forklifts as well as procedures for securing trailers and docks, there are a number of products available to help your company implement its loading-dock safety strategy. These include:

  • Vehicle restraints – Designed to stop trailer creep and trailer pull-away, the correct use of vehicle restraints will limit accidents caused by unintended vehicle movement.
  • Chocks – Trailers can also be prevented from rolling with the use of wheels chocks or chains. Employees should be trained to check always to see if they are in place before opening and entering a trailer.
  • Lighting and other visual cues – These would include guide lights, reflect & guide stripes, and dock strobe lights. Making sure the dock area as a whole, both inside and out, is well lit is also crucial to creating a safer space.
  • Barriers – As with lighting, there are various options, depending on whether there’s a need to simple make workers aware of the danger or physically deter them from entering a specific area. Visual barriers can be easily set up and then removed as needed. Impact barriers must be installed and manually operated and, as such, provide an additional layer of safety.

A carefully considered combination of both safety procedures and equipment will help any company to eliminate accidents resulting from carelessness or inattention, and Beuschel Sales has everything necessary to achieve that in any loading dock situation.


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