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Loading Dock Safety Tips

Seeing as the loading dock is the hub for products moving in and out of a facility, it’s no wonder the area can be dangerous. Between forklifts, trailers, trucks, and all manner of heavy equipment, and the bustle of human activity, there’s a lot going on. So how can you keep your operations running smoothly while maintaining the safety of your loading dock? Here are a few loading dock safety tips.

Keep Traffic Minimal

The more crowded an area, the more chaotic and harder it is to control.

  • Keep unauthorized people out of the area. Make sure everyone on-site enforces this.
  • Mark off restricted and other areas very clearly.
  • Put signage indicating that only authorized people are allowed — especially at entry points.

Train Personnel and Educate Visitors

Prevent accidents that arise out of human error by ensuring that all personnel and visitors know and abide by the rules of your loading dock.

  • Require employees to take a course about loading dock protocols and guidelines so they are aware of risks and hazards.
  • Tell personnel to watch out for each other, keep track of visitors, and report breaches of safety protocol.
  • Where practicable, provide verbal reminders or instructional notices/pamphlets to visitors so they also follow safety protocol.

Respond Quickly

  • Clean spills immediately.
  • Repair damages — such as to equipment and the premises — as soon as practicable.
  • If you see that any product is loose, secure it promptly.

Communicate Clearly

Good communication doesn’t just make operations run more smoothly — it can also prevent accidents and arguments.

  • Use well-known visual cues — for example, red/green “traffic lights” so vehicles know when to enter or whether they need to stay where they are. 
  • Parties should communicate any delays, unforeseen issues, or changes to a plan to each other in a timely manner so people aren’t waiting around in the loading dock unnecessarily and interactions remain calm and productive.
  • Make sure people who are moving — forklift drivers and people moving loads, for example — call out to people in their path (or about to move into their path).

Get Regular Maintenance

Preventative measures will not only save you money on potential repairs and avoid unnecessary downtime in operations. They can also reduce the risk of accidents.

  • Keep floors in good condition and fix cracks and breaks promptly to prevent trips and falls.
  • Schedule regular equipment — especially your dock plates — maintenance checks to detect potential problems early on.

Other Loading and Unloading Dock Safety Tips

Apart from the broader categories of loading and unloading dock safety tips, there are a number of miscellaneous precautions:

  • Stay alert. Pay attention to not only what you are doing but also to your surroundings and activity around you.
  • Mitigate where there are sharp edges.  Protective padding on sharp edges and protruding corners on-site can help prevent injury to people moving product around the facility.
  • Enforce OSHA and other safety protocols. Make sure personnel and visitors are aware of the consequences of not following safety rules and procedures in place. This includes always having the required documentation for heavy machine operators. Ensure everyone wears the required safety equipment.
  • Erect physical barriers where feasible. Bridge the spaces between the ground and loading dock using ramps or dock boards. Put up scissor gates, railings, or other barriers to keep unauthorized people out.
  • Make sure everyone knows proper lifting techniques. Many physical injuries occur because workers are not lifting heavy items in a safe manner.
  • Use locking devices to ensure trailers don’t accidentally separate from the dock — and ask contractors and deliverers to do the same.

Your Safety — and Your Success — Are Number 1

Here at Logity Dispatch, we hope that you follow these truck loading dock safety tips. After all, safety is part of success. And, whether it’s providing top-notch dispatch services or compliance support, we are here to help you. Contact us today to find out how we can optimize your operations.