Loading Dock with Safety Markings

How to Improve Loading Dock Safety


Docks are very busy places and represent a significant risk for both operators and pedestrians. Reduce the risk for an accident with these tips.


Institute a Service Program

Examine and service your docks, levelers and doors on a regular basis. This the first line of defense for catching any potential problems before they happen. A thorough inspection of your trailer restraint system (chocks, bumpers, locks, etc.) will determine if they’re all in good working condition and don’t need replacing. One of the major safety issues around a dock is trailer creep which is caused by the constant in and out of forklifts. The trailer “creeps” away from the dock creating a situation where the forklift or an employee could drop between the trailer and dock.


Implement Continuous Training

Be sure that all of your forklift operators know the proper process of ensuring a trailer is safely locked down, brakes applied, wheel chocks or locks in position. Just training the operators isn’t enough, be sure that anyone working near the loading dock knows the hazards associated with the area. Accidents can easily occur when an un-trained pedestrian doesn’t know the proper procedure for working or travelling near the loading dock.


Assess Each Loading and Unloading Situation

Loads and equipment can vary, so it’s important for operators to asses each loading and unloading situation. They should check that the trailer is locked and chocked (when appropriate) and that it is safe to load or unload the trailer. Unless the forklift operator is very familiar with the equipment, have them park their lift truck and inspect the trailer floor to be sure it can handle the forklift and load safely. Your operators should also verify that the pallets and load are properly secured and that the weight doesn’t exceed the lift truck’s capacity. Be sure they meet the weight capacity of your leveler or bridge.


Use Floor Markings and Safety Equipment

Clearly marked hazards and safe areas are a good way to ensure pedestrians, truck drivers and forklift operators stay within the safe areas of your dock. Pedestrians could easily step into the path of a forklift exiting the trailer so use pedestrian warning indicators and mirrors to minimize blind spots.


Keep the Area Clean

Be sure that the floor, leveler pits and other areas around your dock are free of debris, loose pallets and the like. This will prevent tripping and slipping hazards.


Maintaining Dock Safety

From blind spots to trailer creep, loading docks present a variety of hazards for your employees. Keep them safe by implementing a dedicated safety program including dock safety protocols. After all, safety is no accident.

Get more tips on safety by reading: 4 Traits of Safety Driven Organizations.