Warehouse Safety: Loading Dock Dangers and How to Avoid Them
Did you know that 25 percent of all warehouse accidents occur at the loading dock?
The loading dock is a busy and often dangerous work area, but there are precautions you can take to avoid and minimize accidents. Here’s a look at the most common loading dock dangers and some tips on how to prevent them.
Slipping, Tripping and Falling
Falls are a very common loading dock injury. Keep your dock organized and free of clutter. Remove water and oil spills immediately. Keep the dock clean and dry, and use ice melt when necessary. Provide adequate lighting on the loading dock and inside the trailer, as well. When the dock is empty, use a safety net/gate across the edge or keep the doors closed to prevent workers from falling off. Ensure that dock plates, dock boards or levelers are used and do not over load them.
Shifting Trailer Loads
Both long hauls and short hops are subject to shifting trailer loads, and opening the trailer door can offer a dangerous surprise. Train workers to be cautious and aware of the possibility of broken pallets or shifted loads when opening the trailer doors.
Back injuries are all too common. Make sure workers are trained in proper lifting techniques and reduce repetitive motion issues by rotating tasks. Consider providing ergonomic equipment to help reduce bending, reaching, and stretching.
Truck drivers have been known to back into workers between the truck and dock. Make sure the driver kills the engine, exits the truck, and proceeds to a waiting area.
Forklifts present the most danger on a loading dock. If possible, install guard rails or other barricades in areas where forklifts could drive off the dock. Curbed ramps and dock boards can keep lift trucks from sliding, but if using dock boards, ensure workers are trained on the safe use of them– improperly placed dock boards can cause a forklift to overturn. Consider installing dock sensors, mirrors, and other safety products.
The motion of a forklift traveling in and around a trailer can cause separation between the trailer and the dock. This movement is known as “trailer creep.” It is imperative to secure the trailers at the dock using wheel chocks, wheel-based restraints, or automated restraint equipment.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide exposure can lead to fainting, asphyxiation, and even death. It is imperative that truck drivers turn off their engines during loading and unloading to prevent the accumulation of carbon monoxide.
Professional Safety Audits
To make sure your warehouse is a safe environment for workers and visitors, we recommend regularly scheduled safety audits performed by highly trained, certified safety experts.
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