Four Strategies for Improving Loading Dock Safety

The loading dock is a key area of any warehouse, being the point of access for shipping and receiving stock. A well-design loading dock and load dock procedures minimises delays, damage to goods, and ensures the safety of your staff. Like shelving systems, loading docks can be designed to optimise productivity and the smooth running of your warehouse.

Key Hazards and Process Points

Common loading dock hazards arise from slippery floors, falls, unsecured dock plates, exposure to air and noise pollution from trucks, lifting injuries, as well as injuries from incorrect operation of material handling equipment. Slipping, tripping and falling are some of the most common causes of injury at loading docks.

To overcome these risks, provide clear guidelines and recommended procedures for different tasks. Enforce these procedures to make sure they are properly adopted by all staff members.

  • Stop work and clean up any wet areas immediately.
  • Repair uneven flooring or cracks and loose boards.
  • Have a clear procedure place dock plates; let employees know dock plates must be placed properly.
  • Employees should keep the loading area very clean and free of equipment, rubbish, packaging, or tools.
  • Loading docks can be kept dry with rain diversion header seals.

A safety audit is a good idea if you’re worried about safety in your warehouse. Have a professional thoroughly assess your work procedures and site and act on their recommendations for best practice.

Loading Dock Accessories and Facilities

Pay special attention to loading dock accessories, making sure that important equipments and accessories are kept up to date. Even the small things, such as lighting and dock plates, can make a huge different to the safety of your loading dock operations.

  • Repair faulty or expired light bulbs immediately. Staff should be able to see clearly at all time.
  • Replace worn or damaged loading dock bumpers as trucks can cause your building a lot of money in repairs.
  • Maintaining dock seals and shelters can save your business thousands of dollars in energy bills. They also help keep the temperature at a comfortable level for employees.
  • Sometimes your loading dock may no longer adequately serve your needs. The dock may be too old or small for your trading volume. It may be incompatible with new trailers. If so, perhaps it’s time to consider a complete replacement to keep your warehouse up to date.

Operating Equipment

Have a clear induction process and training program for new employees for operating equipment. Material-handling equipment, such as lift jacks, hand trucks, and forklifts for pallet racking, can cause a lot of injury when not used properly. Where the load is too heavy, employees should reduce the load size or get some help. Good lifting practices can improve productivity, reduce sick days, and improve your bottom line.

If you dock equipment is dated, consider an upgrade. Push-button and electrical solutions can present less strain to the health of your employees when compared with mechanical lifts and other loading equipment.

Trucks and Vehicles

Instil a cautious attitude toward safety around trucks and vehicles. Employees should be encouraged to be doubly careful when walking around the loading dock area. Trucks should be turned off to reduce exposure to carbon monoxide, and wheel chocks used every time.

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