Loading Dock Safety
A loading dock is defined as the main area where products are moved in and out of a facility. This area is particularly dangerous due to the use of heavy equipment and machinery such as forklifts, trucks, and trailers.
Working on loading docks presents many different hazards for employees. Workers need to be careful with what they are doing and must always be aware of the other workers are doing.
Loading Dock Hazards
- Wet, oil, or broken floor surfaces
- Dock edges
- Unsecured dock plates
- Unchocked trailer wheels
- Carbon monoxide coming from trucks
- Improper lifting
- Careless behavior
Tips to Say Safe on a Loading Dock
Keep floors clean, dry, and in good condition.
- Place containers, packaging, tools, and other materials safely out of walking and driving areas.
- Clean up and properly dispose of trash.
- Place oily rags and other flammable trash in closed containers.
- Clean up spills immediately.
- Report any cracked or broken concrete or other flooring.
Keep dock plates in place.
- Check dock plate load capacity to be sure it can handle your load.
- Slide dock plates into position.
Take precautions to prevent falls.
- Walk, don’t run, on loading docks.
- Stay away from loading dock edges.
- Don’t jump onto or off a loading dock.
- Wear sturdy shoes with nonskid soles that support both the ankle and foot.
- Watch where you are going.
Work Safely with Trucks and Trailers
- Make sure that drivers turn off their motors to prevent carbon monoxide exposure.
Load and unload correctly to prevent injuries.
- Use forklifts, dollies, and other aids rather than lifting by yourself.
- Never try to lift skids and pallets alone.
- Bend at your knees and keep your back straight when you are lifting.
- Wear snug fitting gloves that provide good grip.
- Load trucks with heavy objects on the bottom and the weight forward over the axle.
- Keep load height at a level you can see over.
Be aware of other vehicles, workers, and materials.
- Don’t try to ride on a forklift.
- Don’t distract a forklift driver.
- Get out of the way when a forklift’s horn sounds.
- Pay attention to materials on that dock that could fall or roll.
- Wear a hard hat, eye protection, and hearing protection to protect against falling of flying objects and noise.
Mark Floors with Tape to Identify Where Walking is Off Limits.
- Clearly marking on the floor where it is safe to walk will prevent unwanted injury.
Use visual dock communication.
- The use of red/green, stop/go traffic lights is an effective way to communicate with drivers and prevent accidents.
Use locking devices on every truck that comes to the loading dock.
- A locking device ensures that the trailer will not separate from the dock accidentally.
Put padding on the edges of sharp corners of the loading dock.
Secure loose product.
- Check to make sure that product is secure. Smaller products can fall off and cause tripping.
Require proper documentation for handling heavy machinery.
- OSHA trained, and authorized employees are the only people who can operate heavy machinery.
Require that all workers are well-informed and follow loading dock safety rules.
- Make sure all employees are aware of the risks, hazards, and best practices.
With so much at stake, it is crucial that you do everything you can to stay safe while on or around a loading dock.