For workers in the material handling industry, safety is always one of the main concerns for workers and supervisors. But when it comes to loading docks specifically, safety should rule the day, as the combination of heavy goods and multiple moving parts makes the area especially dangerous forall workers. Here are some tips for keeping you and your co-workers out of harm’s way while you’re all on the job.

  1. Keep Dock Plates in Place. As one of the most used and most important aspects of the loading dock, dock plates need a lot of attention. Always slide them into place (don’t drop them in) and secure movable dockboards into position. And be sure to check the load capacity to make sure the plates can handle your load.
  2. Observe Proper Lifting Procedures. To avoid injuries, you should always lift loads correctly. Use forklifts or other aids whenever possible, making sure that heavy objects are on the bottom and the entire load is properly secured. Get help rather than lift alone. When you do lift, do so with your knees and not your back, and wear gloves that provide a good grip.
  3. Stay Alert. There are other vehicles, workers, and materials around a loading dock—a safe worker is always aware of these potential hazards. Wear the proper head, eye, and ear protection when required. Careless behavior leads to injuries.
  4. Keep Floors in Good Condition. Warehouse floors should always be kept free of spills and well maintained to avoid cracks or breaks.
  5. Train Employees in Dock Safety. An informed employee is a safe employee. Make sure every loading dock worker knows the correct procedures and what to watch out for.
  6. Plan Regular Maintenance Checks.  Keeping dock equipment in good, working condition is paramount to loading dock safety.  Everything from forklifts to dock plates can be a hazard, and should be regularly inspected and kept up.

Loading docks can be fraught with hazards, but they don’t have to be. When every worker is alert, and follows the correct procedures, injuries become a thing of the past.