Forklift accidents cost businesses more than $135 million each year, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — and that’s only one type of accident that can occur on the loading dock. Truck drivers and warehouse workers must take full responsibility for creating a safe working environment in the warehouse and on the loading dock. This means that following the proper safety procedures must be the highest possible priority. This guide contains some basic safety tips for use on the loading dock.
Tips for Truckers
· Watch for trailer creep. Repeated loading and unloading can cause trailers to shift slightly each time. Eventually, this can increase the risk of injury. Be sure to check restraints and wheel chocks regularly.
· Use dock plates only as intended. Dock plates must be flush with the surface underneath them to keep movement to a minimum. Always position dock plates to have a minimum overlap of 8 inches at each end. Always check to see that dock plates are properly secured before using them.
· Check load capacity for dock plates. Always check load plates for signs of wear or corrosion before use. Be sure that the plates will support the combined weight of the cargo, the lifting device and the people operating it.
· Always wear protective equipment. Goggles, gloves, boots and other appropriate safety equipment should be worn every time on the loading dock. Be sure these items fit properly and are in good condition.
· Watch for pedestrians. Always be on the lookout for people on foot whenever entering or exiting the loading dock. Even experienced warehouse workers may become distracted and not notice a vehicle in the dock area.
Tips for Warehouse Workers
· Always follow proper procedures. Whatever the proper safety procedures are for your facility, be sure to follow them. Some common ones include never lifting with your back, never running and keeping loading areas adequately lit.
· Wear proper safety equipment. Wear goggles, gloves, reflective vests and other safety equipment at all times. Make sure these items are in good condition and fit properly.
· Keep all floors clear and dry. Wet floors and clutter can cause accidents. Make sure all surfaces on the loading dock are kept clean and dry to prevent falls and other serious injuries.
· Always inspect equipment regularly. Forklifts and other loading equipment must be inspected regularly. Any signs of wear or corrosion should be noted. The equipment should also be taken out of use to prevent failure.
· Ensure employees have proper training. Even if your employees have been trained, make sure they receive routine reminders of proper safety procedures. Safety training should be a regular part of the procedure for processing new hires.
Larry Labelle is Marketing Manager for Verduyn Tarps, an international leader in the tarp system industry. Labelle utilizes his creativity and background in sales to deliver solutions for the company’s branding, message and marketing strategy.