The loading dock is a part of the warehouse where accidents may be a bit more common than you'd like, and it is therefore imperative that you do more to protect your workers (and others) in this area. The good news is that there are probably a number of ways you can make the loading dock incrementally safer here and there, with a large collective impact.
Implement any of the following tips that seem relevant to your needs, and you will be doing your part to improve loading dock safety this summer:
1) Make better use of visuals in communication
Anyone who has been on a loading dock can tell you it's a place with lots of hustle, bustle and noise — and you need a communication system that helps avoid any problems here, according to EHS Today. Implementing light systems or digital signage that communicate certain information, a series of hand signals and so on can be a big help in this regard.
2) Invest in better dock leveling equipment
Improper dock leveling can increase risk in a number of ways, but even if you're reasonably comfortable with your system, you should ensure everything works smoothly, EHS Today said. Over the long haul, the bumps and jostles your workers and equipment take when dock leveling is suboptimal can lead to a lot of wear and tear that increases injury risk and machine failure.
3) Review truck locking procedures
When trucks of all sizes are pulling up to your dock, your employees and visiting drivers have to be sure there will not be a shift during loading and unloading, EHS Today advised. Invest in better locks and review your processes to ensure trucks stay put when they pull up.
4) Install better barriers for open docks
One of the most common causes of accidents on the loading dock is people or equipment going off the side of an open dock, according to Rite Hite. That's a sizable drop, so you need to install barriers that are highly visible and will stand up to a forceful collision.
5) Keep it clean
Another persistent issue here is when debris or liquids are left sitting on the floor of the dock; it can cause an unawares person or vehicle to lose traction, Rite Hite noted. As such, your employees should prioritize keeping the dock floor clean at all times.
6) Encourage workers to wear safer, lighter clothing
During the summer months, workers will be exerting themselves in potentially extreme heat, and they need to be safe, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. Providing them with high-visibility reflective vests and encouraging them to wear lighter clothing (that still conforms with safety standards) is a must.
7) Put up hydration and cooling stations
Finally, because workers will be out in the heat for potentially hours on end, they must be able to refresh themselves whenever it's needed, the Texas Department of Insurance said. Encourage them to take more frequent breaks in an air-conditioned room near the dock, and drink plenty of water throughout the day.