For many businesses, the loading dock is where it all happens. It’s a bustling hub of activity where packages are shipped, received and disseminated. A loading dock’s efficiency is directly related to the quality of its parts, and this includes accessories such as dock seals.
What are loading dock seals?
Loading dock seals are used to seal the envelope between the truck and the loading dock itself. The seal must be high-quality and durable to do its job right, and when the seal isn’t tight, the outcome will directly affect worker efficiency, product quality and can even jeopardize safety.
A good loading dock seal:
- Creates a tight seal between the truck and the dock
- Minimizes temperature fluctuations
- Protects the transition between the trailer and warehouse from water infiltration
- Keeps pests and flying insects out of the warehouse
- Helps to maintain better product quality control
- Improves loading dock safety and reduces slip-and-fall accidents
Are dock seals the same thing as dock shelters?
Sometimes, clients use the terms dock seal and dock shelter interchangeably when, in fact, they are two separate things. Loading dock shelters do not fit quite as tight and are designed to provide more flexibility in terms of truck and/or trailer size. As a result, the shelters don’t offer the same level of protection as dock seals.
Dock seals, on the other hand, create a much tighter fit between the dock, warehouse, and trailer. Other loading dock accessories, like loading dock levelers, can be used to achieve a better fit between different size truck trailers and the dock seal as well. When loading dock accessories are installed and used correctly, dock seals provide the best protection for your products and employees.
How do I know my loading dock seals need repair or replacement?
Like all equipment that endures heavy-duty impact, loading dock seals require routine inspection and maintenance. You can make these routine inspections a part of your warehouse manager’s duties or you can contract it out to a local industrial door company. These inspections and routine maintenance appointments are worth the extra investment because they extend the life of your loading dock and its accessories, and they ensure equipment/parts are repaired, adjusted, and lubricated before they malfunction.
Even so, seals will begin to show signs of wear and tear over time. If you notice gaps in between the dock seal and appropriately positioned trucks and/or the warehouse, it probably needs repair or replacement. Similarly, if you notice your dock seal is leaking, allowing cold/hot air to escape or infiltrate or that unloaded/warehoused boxes seem to be more damp than usual, there’s a chance a leaky or malfunctioning seal is the cause. Any obvious signs of breakage should be reported immediately.
Loading dock seals improve worker safety and reduce injuries
High-quality and routinely maintained loading dock seals improve worker safety because they minimize the impact of water, weather, and debris that can lead to slip-and-fall or forklift injuries. These accidents often cause serious or even fatal injuries, not to mention reduced productivity, missed time off work and increased workers comp costs. The large majority of loading dock injuries occur within close proximity to the trailer back, the loading dock and the warehouse entrance – and most of them are preventable.
Another important thing to remember is that loading dock seal warranties are often void if warehouse owners can’t provide documentation proving they were maintained as per manufacturer’s instructions. In worst case scenarios, failure to prove you’ve maintained loading dock equipment that is cited as cause for a workplace injury can result in a lawsuit and serious financial penalties.
Don’t let a simple lapse in maintenance or repairs have a negative impact on your company. Contact R&S and schedule a free, on-site consultation. We’ll be happy to provide a free quote for repair and replacement parts, and we can also discuss enrolling you in our maintenance program so your maintenance needs are taken care of automatically.