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How to Make Your Loading Dock Areas Safer

Your loading dock is a high-trafficked area essential for business. Whether goods are coming or going, you have to make sure that your product moves where it needs to safely, quickly, and regularly. However, due to the frenetic pace of work and high traffic of people, goods, and heavy machinery, your loading dock can pose huge risks to your workers’ health. Collisions, falls, trips, noise, and more can contribute to avoidable injuries of workers. Some thoughtful design choices and problem-solving can help keep these tragedies from occurring, all while contributing to a more effective workspace and increased loading dock safety.

Clearly Marked Pedestrian Areas

Keep pedestrian traffic clear and separate from any forklift or other industrial vehicle traffic. Clearly marked lanes and guardrails are one possibility for helping prevent injury. Consider implementing traffic lights, backup alarms, corner mirrors, and other equipment to help boost visibility and safety. Requiring safety training for all workers before they are permitted to begin work can help contribute to a robust culture of safety in your loading dock areas.

Control the Environment

High traffic and frequent opening of dock doors can allow the great outdoors to get inside your loading dock. When properly used alongside a robust operations plan, dock seals can help minimize intrusions of moisture, temperature, and debris from outdoors. Dock seals can also limit potential damage to your product being loaded from tractor trailers by keeping overflow water outside where it belongs. You should also ensure that your warehouse air attains a proper mix per OSHA guidelines – vents, fans, and other features can help ventilate exhaust fumes from powered equipment and keep the air safe for workers.

Minimize avoidable risks

Some of the most painful and avoidable injuries are due to slips, trips, and falls. Implementing common sense solutions such as grip tape in areas prone to slick conditions can help easily prevent worker injuries. More specialized equipment like dock levelers can create smooth, convenient paths for your workers and equipment to use when loading and unloading trailers. Preventing gaps between your dock and the trailer prevent risky worker behavior that can lead to injuries or product damage. Common sense operating rules such as keeping dock doors closed when no trailer is present can also contribute to a much safer workplace. Some operations use red and green lights at each dock door to show whether a trailer is present, giving workers another visual signal of whether the dock is safe for work.

Careful planning and effective implementation is key to maximizing loading dock safety. Ready to discuss solutions for your loading dock? Contact us for a consultation today.


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