"As one of the busiest areas of a warehouse, the loading dock can bring with it a lot of safety hazards and potential for accidents.
There’s a lot of moving parts in a loading dock, both literally and figuratively, and understanding how they all work together is critical for creating a safety plan. And as nearly 25% of all warehouse accidents occur at the loading dock (or because of operations relating to the loading dock), a safety plan is crucial for protecting your workers, your inventory, and your warehouse at large. Here’s a look at some common loading dock safety hazards, and tips on avoiding them:
Shifting trailer loads
Any trailer is subject to shifting and moving loads, regardless of how packed up they are, and this is an extremely common cause of injury on loading docks. Train your workers to be aware of shifted loads when opening doors, and always make sure there’s enough loading dock workers on hand to prevent loads from sliding out of the back of trucks and injuring someone.
Slip and fall injuries
Not to sound like those law firm commercials we all see at 2 in the afternoon when nothing’s on TV, but slip-and-fall injuries are a sadly common sight all throughout a warehouse, particularly in the loading dock. Rain and snow can come in from the outside to create a water hazard, obstructions such as power cords and other debris can cause trips and stumbles, and anything left on the floor in a loading dock is a particularly high safety risk. Take time to clean up anything that could obstruct a path in the loading dock and train your workers to keep an eye out for any obstructions or potential hazards along the way.
Double-check all equipment
In an area with as much product movement as the loading dock, verifying the safety and functionality of your equipment is more crucial here than it is even in other parts of the warehouse. Frequently inspect anything you use to store products, including dock plates, Pallet Racks, Warehouse Shelves and any other storage solution you might use to make sure they’re not being used over capacity and to measure if and when they may require replacement or repair. Secure everything as best you can to the walls or floor to prevent movement. (And if you are installing dock plates, remember to slide them, not drop them.)
Secure all trailers when they arrive
Due to the movement of inventory loads off the trailer, as well as the motion of forklifts traveling in and around trailers, truck trailers can be subject to what’s known as “trailer creep”, causing separation between the trailer and the loading dock. This separation can lead to damaged products and potential injury if left unattended. Take time to secure all trailers at the dock using wheel chocks or automated restraint equipment to prevent accidental movement during loading or unloading."