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5 Upgrades for Loading Dock Safety

Loading Dock
A loading dock is a busy and sometimes risky area to work. In fact, each year many dockworkers sustain serious injuries including back fractures, falls, and even gas poisoning. One of the most effective ways to prevent such accidents and mitigate costly liabilities is to regularly maintain and upgrade critical dock equipment.
Here are crucial upgrades to consider for ultimate safety in your loading dock.
1. Dock Leveler
A dock leveler plays an important role as the connecting bridge between the warehouse and the trailer. A faulty leveler can increase the risk of edge-of-dock accidents that can lead to serious injuries or death. 
In average circumstances, dock levelers can last up to a decade. However, you may need to replace your leveler earlier than this, especially if your docking facility is extremely busy.
Consider upgrading from a manual to a hydraulic leveler. A hydraulic leveler operates automatically, minimizing the chances of injuries to workers. These automatic levers also have lower maintenance costs.
2. Truck Restraints 
Trailer creep is another major safety hazard at docking facilities. Trailer creep happens when the trailer edges away from the dock entrance due to continuous impact from the lift trucks. This separation can result in the lift truck toppling over and causing serious injury to the driver.
According to The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), operators should restrain trailers during the loading and unloading process. However, some docking facilities use the wrong methods to hold the trailer in place.
In particular, facilities typically use rubber wheel chocks as a trailer restraining method. However, wheel chocks can easily slip or shift, allowing the trailer to gradually or suddenly move away from the dock. 
To safeguard against trailer creep, replace rubber wheel chocks with a mechanical or powered truck restraining system. A good quality truck restrainer locks down the rear wheels and firmly attaches the trailer to the warehouse. These restraining systems also feature LED lights to communicate the status of the trailer to dock workers.
3. Dock Seals and Shelters 
Slip and fall accidents are among the most common type of dock injuries. Water on the floor of the docking facility is a major contributor to such falls.
Consider installing dock seals and shelters around the dock entry to keep snow and rainwater out of the warehouse. Sealing also prevents energy loss, allowing you to minimize your warehouse heating costs.
4. Safety Barrier
In some facilities, the distance between the dock entrance and the floor can be several inches deep, creating a particularly serious safety hazard, especially to forklift truck drivers. One way to mitigate such fall hazards and to comply with OSHA requirements is to install safety gates.
A scissor safety gate is an inexpensive option that can help to solve the challenge of edge-of-dock accidents. Ensure that your safety gate meets industry safety standards, is built from quality materials, and is easy to use.
5. LED Lighting
Many docking facilities still use the conventional red/green lighting system to communicate the status of the trailer. However, such a system has several downsides. For example, loads and equipment on the warehouse floor can easily block the lights from the truck operator's view.
Consider upgrading to LED lighting installed on dock levelers and along the dock doors. These lights are highly visible and can be paired with motion sensors and other equipment, such as truck restraints, to ensure safety inside the trailer and in the warehouse.
Many companies take a reactive instead of a preventative approach to the maintenance of dock equipment. However, dock equipment has a finite service life and require replacing before they completely break down. 
At Artex Overhead Door Company, we can help you select and install dependable dock equipment to ensure safety at your warehouse. Call us today to discuss your needs.