printech, March, 2004
Loading Dock Safety Tips

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From: Gary Jones ( )
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 12:28:26

FYI - From JJ Keller's Safety Clicks at

Basic awareness promotes loading dock safety

Employers can use these reminders about hazards that face workers on loading docks. Employees should be aware of their surroundings and the operation of forklifts and other material-handling equipment. Primary loading dock hazards include:
• Slips on wet or oily floors.
• Falls from the edges of docks.
• Falls because of unsecured dock plates.
• Carbon monoxide exposure from trucks and material-handling equipment.
• Back injuries from poor lifting or carrying practices.
• Head and eye injuries.
• Hearing damage from too loud noise levels.
• Injuries from careless forklift operation.

Prevent slips, trips, and falls

Slips, trip, and falls are among the most common loading dock injuries. With so much activity occurring in a small area with materials and equipment, workers are at great risk of injury unless proper precautions are taken:
• Spills, leaks, and wet spots need to be cleaned up immediately.
• Cracks, holes, or other floor damage should be repaired.
• Dock plates should be properly placed.
• Containers, packaging, and tools should be kept clear.
• Trash should be removed and disposed of properly.
• Workers should be encouraged to walk carefully and stay clear of dock edges.
• Horseplay and other unsafe behaviors must not be allowed.
• Employees must be taught how to use dock equipment safely.

Safety precautions required around vehicles

Some injuries occur when workers are hit by equipment operating in the dock area. Other accidents occur when trucks and trailers aren't properly secured and shut down. Rules for vehicle safety include the following:
• Truck drivers should turn off engines to prevent carbon monoxide release.
• Forklift operators should ensure trailers are secured and safe to enter.
• Loading dock employees should be prohibited from riding on forklifts or distracting operators.
• Loading dock employees should stay clear of vehicles and material-handling equipment.

With some basic awareness, training, and enforcement of safe practices, the loading dock can be a safe place for all employees who work there

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