Prioritising loading dock safety

April 15, 2021

Category: Electric forklift solution,

Loading docks are typically narrow and often elevated. As a result, there is an increased risk of forklift accidents. Forklifts falling off the edge of the dock and skidding or slipping in wet conditions are common loading dock accidents.

Safety strategy

To ensure comprehensive loading dock safety, start your daily inspection at the loading dock entrance and work inward.

Clean the surface of the loading dock before operating forklifts to prevent accidents that result from sliding on wet floors.

Ensure dock plates, boards, and levelers are designed to bridge the gap between the trailer and the dock. They need to be properly maintained to support the weight of forklifts, materials, and people.

One common risk when loading and unloading trailers in a loading dock, is trailer creep. This is when trailers gradually move away from the dock due to constant movement. To avoid this, ensure the trailer is secured to the dock with a locking device on the trailer’s rear impact guard or rear wheel. This will increase loading dock safety by preventing workers or forklifts falling through the gap.

It is essential to maintain a safe distance from the edge of the loading dock. While there’s no industry recommendation for a specific measurement between a forklift and the edge of a loading dock, it’s advisable to paint the edges of the loading dock a bright colour to help forklift operators remain aware of dock edges. Ideally, any fall edge where a forklift could drive off or a person slip, or fall should be protected by a guard rail.

Collisions and back-overs are other dangers at loading docks where forklifts are entering and exiting. Using flow of traffic markings and enforcing speed limits will help minimise these forklift accidents.

Essential checklist to avoid forklift accidents

  • Proper operating training is the first step to prevent accidents, so ensure that anyone operating a forklift is trained to do so.
  • Inspect the loading dock daily before starting work.
  • Double-check the floors of the trailers to ensure they’re sturdy enough to handle the weight of the forklift.
  • Workers on foot should wear reflective clothing.
  • Forklift operators need to:
    • Inspect all machinery before use.
    • Keep forks low to the ground to maintain 360-degree visibility during use.
    • Ensure loads are stable and secure.
    • Never carry loads that exceed the equipment’s weight capacity.

Contact Orizen Group today

For more information about repairs, services, and maintenance to minimise forklift accidents on-site, get in touch with Orizen Group today.