News — Safety
Posted by AJ Porter on
Warehouse Safety 101: Protecting Workers at the Loading Bay
From the bright safety striping to integrated safety systems at the loading dock and everything in between, warehouse operations must greatly prioritize the safety of their workers and machine operators including truck drivers. The warehouse loading dock is indeed packed with hazards at every turn threatening the safety of the workers. Workers have been known to obtain leg fractures from dock plates or fatally getting crushed between a truck and the loading dock wall, falling off the dock or even driving forklifts straight over loading docks.
These instances are simply brought about not only through negligence but also not following good safety policies, lacking appropriate equipment and failing to incorporate modern technology in warehouse operating procedures. In the loading docks, people can get seriously injured if worker safety isn’t enhanced.
Operating at warp speed
Dockworker safety is truly an issue, however, most warehouses are operating at warp speed, attempting to generate huge returns all the while neglecting other key areas like worker safety. There are some companies who pay their workers by the number of items loaded or offloaded, this kind of incentive prevents the worker from realizing his/her safety. Warehouse managers should come up with a plan to ensure their worker's safety comes first and sensitize their workers.
There are cases of workers attempting to drive forklifts just to get things done “quickly” and yet they are unqualified to operate that machinery. This breaches safety protocols and endangers the worker’s life.
Preventing and Reducing Worker Safety Compromise
One thing warehouse managers can do to ensure the safety of their workers at the loading docks is introduced restraining devices like wheel chocks on trucks and other vehicles. Additionally, the chocks need to be replaced as soon as they wear out. Furthermore, adding an indicator light system similar to traffic lights can serve well to promote worker safety and prevent accidents.
On the loading dock itself, dock levelers, seals, overhead doors, and canopies can reduce the risk of accidents. For instance, a dock leveler makes it easier for truck drivers to drive in and out, while canopies help keep the elements away.
Falling off a dock, however, uncommon can inflict significant damage, even if the distance was minimal. Introducing guardrails and sufficient markings in any open or pit area in the loading dock is a great way to prevent fall accidents.
Guardrails also provide visual cues to the workers on the potential hazard underlying the protected area, much similar to guard rails on roads which protect drivers. Additionally, portable gates or barriers can be set up to quarantine zones in the loading docks during dangerous operations.
Instances of drivers not seeing pedestrians are not uncommon in warehouse accidents. It is the manager’s or employer’s responsibility to ensure the workers are equipped with reflective jackets or luminescent lights. These combined with integrated loading dock systems can prevent accidents from happening.
Regardless of the size, structure, and function of the warehouse, having a proactive worker safety culture goes a long way in reducing the risks and further increase productivity in warehouse operations.
Posted by AJ Porter on