Better Safe Than Sorry at the Loading Dock

Some aspects of a logistics supply chain can be pretty dangerous. The risks of semi-trailer trucks driving down the highway are obvious. But danger often lurks around even when the truck is not moving at all. One of the most hazardous places in a supply chain is unquestionably the loading dock.

Think about it: heavy machinery, forklifts, unsecured loads, sharp edges, lifting injuries, and so on. There’s just too much going on simultaneously that can easily go wrong. And in these days where efficiency and speed are more important than ever, the likelihood for accidents is even greater.

When assessing the risks in your loading dock facilities, here are a few things to keep in mind in order to keep the area as safe and efficient as possible:

Keep it clean

Parts of a loading dock are often exposed to the open air in order to accommodate incoming containers. Rain, snow, and really any kind of liquid cargo spillage can make floors dangerously slippery. Keep cleaning materials and proper cautionary signage handy to clean up and dry surfaces immediately.

Delineate off-limit areas

Use brightly colored tape and signs to mark the areas where forklifts transit as off-limits for pedestrians. Don’t forget about the floor. Employees should know at all times where exactly they shouldn’t stand to avoid being hit by a moving forklift.

Pad sharp edges and corners

Loading docks often have sharp edges that can easily cause injury in a moment of carelessness. Identify these edges and install pads or cushions to minimize the chance of injury.

Have signage for forklifts

If there are multiple forklifts being used at the same time, something as simple and universal as red and green traffic lights to signal forklifts when to stop and when to proceed can greatly reduce the chance of collision.

Lock it up

Most docks have locking devices to ensure that containers that are being loaded or unloaded remain still. Use these at all times! Failure to do so can cause the container to separate from the dock, increasing the risk of an employee falling and getting seriously injured.

Watch out for loose cargo

Make sure that the cargo being loaded and unloaded is properly secured and/or palletized to minimize the risk of it falling over and injuring someone.

Be strict with documentation and protocols

Make sure that only properly trained and certified employees are operating forklifts and other heavy machinery. Not doing this is unsafe and illegal. Require your employees to be aware at all times of the risks associated to the loading dock and of the steps that need to be taken to ensure that it is a safe place to work.

At BOS Group, efficiency and safety in logistics are our priority.

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Content Creator: Pablo Torres