The Dangers of Loading Docks. Loading docks can be an incredibly dangerous places for forklifts, workers and pedestrians. Falls from a loading dock in a forklift can be fatal. Every year,injuries and fatalities in the U.S. occur as a result of not taking safety precautions around loading/unloading docks. Here's How We Recommend Preventing Them.
The Dangers of Loading Docks
Loading dock bays undoubtedly are one of the most dangerous area of a warehouse. They can at times be a disaster waiting to happen for forklifts, forklift operators, and pedestrians. Falls from loading bays can in the worst case scenario be fatal, or often put you off the job for 3-6 months plus. Most of these accidents that lead to injuries and fatalities are simply due to negligence and failure to observe safety protocols and precautions.
Outlined below are safety tips, accredited, that can be observed to avert potential danger and ensure safety compliance with the stipulated warehouse operations regulations. Moreover, additional training needs to be done annually or so, to ensure the workforce is well versed in safety aspects.
Loading Dock Bay Hazards and Safety Tips
- Slips and Trips
To prevent accidents through slipping and tripping, ensure you clean the area immediately whenever there are spills, rain or snow being tracked in. The area needs to be clean and dry all of the time, we suggest using de icer outside to prevent frequent snow being brought in.
Place tools, trash bins and any other material far from the dock points of activity. Additionally, maintain the floors and repair any cracks or uneven surfaces that may pose a threat to the operations. Periodically you may want to go through and remove accumulated debris and keep it managed under the facility’s housekeeping plan.
- Falls from Hazards
Have the edges of loading docks painted in bright colors, i.e., yellow, or have hazard lighting installed to promote visibility.
Always keep tabs on dock ladders and stairs and audit them to ensure they are stable and replace any worn out parts. Moreover, have the exits well marked and ensure adequate lighting in the loading bay area and inside the trucks. Have your workforce follow basic safety precautions and advise them against risky behaviors that can lead to accidents like jumping off from the dock leveler to the ground.
Ensure your dock plated designed and suited for their specific weight handling capacity. Never overload dock plates.
- Un-chocked Wheels
Use wheel chocks on truck wheels to prevent movement during loading and unloading. Have a designated employee to oversee the maintenance and operation of the wheel chocks.
- Carbon Monoxide
Engine fumes often have a good percentage of carbon monoxide, this gas causes dizziness, asphyxiation, fainting which can affect machine operation and lead to fatalities and death. Truck drivers should be reminded to turn off the engine during loading and offloading activities.
- Back Injuries
Back injuries associated with manual lifting are common while loading or unloading trucks. It is prudent that ergonomic assessment is done and risk of injury determined during manual lifting. Where the risk is great, introduce mechanical lifting devices like forklifts. Also possibly implement a stretching routine or teach your warehouse employee’s the importance of stretching and how it can elongate their work life and help to prevent injuries.
- Pedestrian Traffic
At all times, pedestrian traffic must be limited to loading dock personnel. Visitors must be clearly identified with different clothing or badges ensuring appropriate visibility. Also, introduce barricades to direct pedestrians away from loading operations. Always check the back before exiting and keep line-of-sight of any pedestrians within.