How To Create A Safe Loading Dock

Too often loading dock safety is not a top priority until after an accident – an unexpected forklift roll-off, an accident resulting in building or product damage or even worse, employee injury. The best solution for loading dock safety is to be proactive; anticipate any safety problems that could occur and put the right solutions in place to avoid these accidents. But, what happens if your loading dock is already built? It is never too late to improve your loading dock safety practices to help ensure building integrity, employee safety and product safety. Here are some solutions that can help increase safety at your loading dock/bay.

Regular Planned Maintenance

Make time for regular planned maintenance. Your dock levelers, restraints and overhead doors all have moving parts that handle forceful stresses every day. They should be cleaned, lubricated, and checked by a technician to increase product life and productivity.

Dock bumpers, lights, communication packages and other loading dock accessories should also be inspected and inventoried during planned maintenance, two – three times a year as wheel chocks are often swept away in winter months by snow plows.

Keep Environment Dry

Keeping employees and products dry is another important safety rule, wet floors and fast-paced loading dock operations are a dangerous combination. Consider Seals and Shelters to keep weather conditions under control, maintain internal temperatures and protect products from outside contaminants. Overhead Door Accessories are another great solution to protect the loading bay and exterior doorways from rain, snow and ice to keep loading bays and man doors safer for vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Not sure which seal or shelter is best for you facility? Download the Blue Giant Seal and Shelter Questionnaire to determine the model that matches your application needs.

Update Equipment

If you have a dock leveler that is over 15 years old, you may find that it no longer handles your load requirements adequately. Utilizing your dated dock in over-capacity situations (heavier loads, larger trailers) can lead to product and equipment damage and increase the risk of employee injury. Instead of struggling with old equipment replace your dock leveler as necessary to ensure optimal safety.

Upgrade Equipment

Upgrading your loading dock and controls broadens the functionality of your loading dock equipment and helps to keep it in prime shape while improving cost of ownership. If your mechanical dock equipment is not handling your load requirements, consider upgrading to a hydraulic package. An upgrade to hydraulic operation provides easier operator control and a higher degree of safety and is also a cost-effective solution for those not ready to replace their mechanical levelers. 
Upgrade your control panel to a combination control to help ensure safety and efficiency. Control panels not only operate loading docks but they can also operate dock lights, overhead doors, and inflatables. Incorrect, or incomplete, sequencing can potentially lead to injury and equipment damage.  Installing a combination control panel will help maximize productivity and minimize downtime

Use Loading Dock Safety Technology 

Vehicle Restraints: Safeguard against unscheduled departures, trailer creep, and trailer walk, and require minimal maintenance.
  • Dock Barriers: Add safety and security and protect employees and goods from loading dock accidents. In addition, OSHA has requirements for loading docks, indoor docks, and any other in-plant areas that have unprotected sides or edges that are 4 feet or higher. These new requirements are designed to keep people safe and to prevent loading dock accidents and the right dock barrier can help you meet OSHA requirements.
  • Dock-lip Barrier: Consider investing in a dock-lip barrier (DLB), they protect against accidental forklift roll-off when the overhead door is open and no trailer is stationed at the dock. 
The XDS dock prevents against overhead door damage.