Loading Dock Safety - 3 Essential Tips

Loading Dock Safety – 3 Essential Tips

Loading Dock Safety - 3 Essential TipsLoading docks are a hub of activity. Forklift accidents can happen anywhere, but weather, moving trucks and other factors make loading docks one of the more hazardous areas for forklifts.

Common forklift accidents on loading docks include:

The lift truck falling off the edge of the dock
Employees being struck by a forklift
Skidding or slipping due to wet or icy conditions
Trailer separation (the truck pulls away with a forklift still inside)

Forklift Safety Around Loading Docks

OSHA has a webpage about loading dock safety and lift trucks. Many of their recommendations include common sense tips including:
– Only allow authorized employees (OSHA-trained and documented) to operate forklifts, hand trucks and/or pallet jacks.
Use industrial cleaning equipment to keep floors clean and conduct a daily loading dock inspection that checks for wet, oily, or broken floor surfaces. 
– Ensure the loading dock floor is dry and free from trash and spills
– Paint the edges of the loading dock to improve visibility
– When operating a forklift on a loading dock, slow down, watch for others and maintain a safe distance from the edge of the dock.

A common (and dangerous) cause of loading dock accidents occurs when the trailer moves away from the dock. This can happen gradually (trailer creep) due to the motion of loading or unloading the truck, or it can occur suddenly when the truck driver pulls away (not realizing the forklift is still inside). Securing the trailer to the dock using a locking device, either on the trailer’s rear impact guard (RIG locking) or rear wheel, is an important safety measure.

Loading Dock Safety - 3 Essential Tips

Guard rails, stops, bollards, dock barricades and other guarding devices are key to loading dock safety. Guardrails can be used to separate pedestrian traffic from heavy equipment and loads and prevent personnel (and forklifts) from falls. Similarly, steel plates (stops) and bollards can create a physical barrier to prevent equipment from going over the edge.

For more information on barriers, dock signaling devices, or any loading dock product needs, contact us online. Or, reach us by phone at one of our four northern/central California locations:

San Francisco Bay Area (Livermore) (510) 473-8151
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091

Further Reading
The Simple Way to Prevent Warehouse Slip Trip and Fall Injuries
Top 7 Causes of Warehouse Accidents and How to Prevent Them
Forklift and Warehouse Safety Statistics  and Guide