Using the right loading dock equipment for the job is just the first step of having a safe workplace.
Without the right preventative measures set in place and the proper training, however, you are allowing the risk of numerous safety hazards that could have been avoided.
Keep reading and we will share some general safety tips with you, as well as some important safety maintenance tips for your loading dock equipment.
General Tips to Avoid Accidents
Some of the most common accidents that take place in loading docks are:
- Overexertion Injuries
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Trailer Separation Accidents
- Forklift Accidents
- Falls from the Dock
All of these accidents can result in consequences such as; facility, product, and equipment damage, employee injuries, and even death. This can lead to a number of other problems, like lawsuits and even bad reputations.
In this article on Safety and Health Magazine’s website, they report that about 25% of reported warehouse accidents are from loading docks. The following tips will help you cut down on these accidents.
Keep Pedestrians Out of and Away From Loading Areas
Keep employees, vendors, and pedestrians away from loading docks.
You can increase security by connecting alarms to doors and trailers and by having a watch present during operations.
Conduct Regular Safety Audits
The most important part of workplace safety is not only having the right equipment but also performing regular preventative maintenance.
According to this article by OSHA, workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer over 800 deaths per year and over 18,000 other injuries.
It is imperative to have your equipment in top working order to prevent liability.
Keep Loading and Unloading Area Clean
Regular sweeps, cleaning up debris, and properly tending to spills are all crucial elements of maintaining a safe work environment.
With the right attention to detail, you can make the work environment a much safer place all around.
Make Sure Employees Are Trained Properly
Having employees trained properly and well rested will ensure that they are as alert as possible during their work shift.
Make sure that your employees are given frequent breaks to avoid overexertion. You can check the United States Department of Labor for laws in your state regarding minimum paid rest periods.
Preventative Maintenance Checklist for Loading Dock Levelers
Aside from checking the general condition of the loading dock equipment and your surroundings, you can increase safety and prevent accidents by making a maintenance checklist that you can use to perform regular maintenance on equipment.
Continue reading for some tips that will help you keep your leveler in safe working order.
Always Check the Dock Doors
Replacing doors can be very costly, so always check, maintenance, and repair dock doors as needed. If you do end up replacing them, make sure and look for high impact dock doors, that are made to deflect damages in the first place.
Upgrade Loading Dock Equipment Frequently
Whether you upgrade from mechanical to a push-button operation, or you are simply replacing restraints and dock bumpers, regular upgrades can prevent wear and tear from getting the best of you.
Upgrade your loading dock equipment as needed and perform regular inspections of dock bumpers, seals, and other parts on a regular basis.
Check Seals and Shelters
Having seals and shelters that are worn out or damaged can cost you money, and make life miserable for employees in extreme temperatures.
Perform regular checks on upper and lower seals to ensure that they are sealed effectively. Swing-out style doors should have proper protection to seal the gap in the hinge when doors are open.
Keep the Upper Plate Clean
Clean upper plate, lower rollers, sides, and curb angles on a regular basis, to keep everything operating smoothly.
Keeping a tight running ship is always the best way to prevent slips and keep equipment in great condition for as long as possible.
Check Roll-Out Deck, Roll-Out Plate, and Snap Rings
Always check to see if the push-in bar and roll-out plate assemblies have been damaged. Also, check to make sure all your snap rings are there and that they are not damaged, and there is no damage to the clips on the axles and rollers.
Make sure the welds are still intact under the top plate of the leveler. It is a good idea to check dock leveler after use to make sure it is operational, and no unwanted sounds or vibrations are present.
Check All Springs
The springs in the safety leg system should be checked on a regular basis, as well as any other springs. What you want to look for is visible wear, breakage, and elongation of the springs.
Forklift Safety Tips
Did you know that there are approximately 855,900 forklifts in operation in the US alone? Out of those forklifts, did you know that 11% of them will be involved in an accident in the average year?
It’s true. Around 61,800 non-serious accidents, 34,900 serious injuries, and 85 deaths per year happen in forklift accidents.
According to statistics, 70% of these accidents could have been avoided with proper training and policy.
Here are some forklift safety tips, that will help ensure safety while operating forklifts, and here is an additional checklist that we found on Linkedin Slideshare as well that you may find helpful.
Perform Daily Inspections
Daily inspections of equipment and operating environment can help avoid potential accidents that could have been prevented. Regularly inspecting equipment can also alert you to any mechanical problems before they arise.
Only Allow Qualified Operators to Drive Forklifts
Only allow individuals over the age of 18 with the proper training, licensing and authorization to operate forklifts. This is one of the worst contributing factors to forklift accidents.
Maintain Load Stability
Always inspect load for balance and stability. Keeping your loads symmetrically stacked, with a low center of gravity will help ensure a safe loading and unloading workday.
Stay within Forklift Capacity
Stay within parameters set by the load capacity displayed on the rating platform. Allowing the machinery to be overloaded not only creates added stress on the equipment, it can also easily cause accidents.
Maintain a clear visibility, stay aware of your surroundings, and slow down for pedestrian crossing areas. Treating every move like it could potentially cause an accident is a great way to prevent danger.
Also, not allowing employees to carry phones, headsets, and other distractions will ensure that they stay focused on their jobs, and performing at their peak potential for your company.
Loading Dock Equipment Summary
It is a known fact that the likelihood of accidents increases with the presence of faulty equipment. Without conducting frequent preventative maintenance inspections, you could be doubling your chances of accidents and injuries.
The steps on this list should help you know what to look for in your daily inspections, and keep your equipment in the best working condition possible.
Hopefully, our efforts to communicate these tips will help you prevent problems that could potentiate from worn out equipment, and stop accidents before they happen.
We carry a full line of loading dock equipment on our website in the case that you are replacing your loading dock equipment or expanding your operations.
Make sure and check out our blog on dock seals to learn why it is safer and better all around to go with one. Don’t forget that you can contact us anytime if you have any questions.