Safety should be the top priority of anyone in the logistics sector (or any industry, for that matter), but it takes on a special level of importance in the hustle and bustle of loading dock activities. However, there are some aspects of the job relating to worker safety that are typically not included in normal safety training.
Those include the following, all of which your employees should know to keep an eye on as they progress through a workday:
1) Dealing with fatigue
It should come as little surprise that work on even a relatively quiet loading dock is physically demanding and can lead workers to feel fatigued as the day goes on, according to Safeopedia. That, in turn, may make them slower to react in situations that require a snap decision, or make it more difficult to complete tasks. As such, they should know how to deal with fatigue, including staying hydrated and taking breaks as necessary.
2) Caution around heavy equipment
Most warehouses are conscientious about training people who work with forklifts and other heavy equipment, but the same cannot be said of the people who might work around these vehicles, Safeopedia cautioned. They should be educated about the right and wrong way to act when a forklift comes through, as well as what to do in the event of a potential emergency so everyone on the loading dock can stay as safe as possible.
3) Working with pallet jacks and straight trucks
Along similar lines, you likely require that your forklift operators have all the right certifications before they get behind the wheel of this equipment, but similar levels of training should be required for pallet jacks, straight trucks and the like, according to Zippia. Your employees should know how to avoid pinch points, prevent roll-aways and otherwise keep themselves and others safe while using these vital pieces of equipment.
4) Going beyond proper lifting and carrying techniques
Even when part of standard safety training, you can't always count on your workers to lift heavy items in a manner that will help them avoid injury, according to EHS Daily Advisor. There may be some instances where it is a better idea to avoid lifting at all, and use a dolly, jack or lift. In other cases, there should be PPE available that helps workers lift more safely, and loading dock employees should never be afraid to ask for help from a coworker.
5) How to keep the dock clean
Finally, because slips, trips and falls are among the most common workplace injuries in industrial settings, your loading dock employees should also strive to keep their workspace as clean and clear of hazards as possible, EHS Daily Advisor said. Something as simple as encouraging a climate of proactive sweeping up, emptying trash bins, covering or getting rid of standing water and more, can help employees proceed with greater confidence that these risks are being kept to a minimum.