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Safety Maintenance Tips For Your Loading Dock Equipment

safety maintenance tips for your loading dock equipment

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.

Inspect Welds

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.

Stay Attentive

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.

All About Dock Seals

all-about-dock-sealsFor 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:

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.

All About High-Speed Doors

all-about-high-speed-doors

When you’re in the market for a new or replacement commercial roll up door, you need a product that is reliable, functional, durable and secure. While the standard commercial roll up door might be for you, many business owners find that high-speed doors are a better fit for their business.

While high-speed doors are considered newer kids on the commercial roll up door block, they bring you the benefit of better and faster overall performance, which can increase productivity and safety for your business.

What is a High-Speed Door?

High-speed doors work similarly to their standard counterparts but they use higher powered mechanics that increase cycle performance. In addition to cycling speeds ranging from 24-feet to 96-feet per second, most high-quality models can handle an unlimited number of opening and closing cycles per day without any signs of undue wear and tear.

They are popular with a range of businesses, most especially those where efficiency, temperature or air quality control and quick partitioning are of the essence. High-speed doors are designed in a range of models, including:

  • Basic
  • All-weather
  • Freezer
  • Clean Room
  • And more

Benefits of High-speed Doors

There are plenty of benefits reaped by business owners who install high-speed doors. These benefits include:

Efficiency and Productivity

Every second spent waiting for your warehouse doors to open and close is wasted time. High-speed doors are a simple way to increase worker efficiency and productivity. For example, consider the time spent opening and closing the doors accessing your loading dock. Multiply the seconds it takes to open and close doors, by the number of rolling doors you have on site, by the number of times they open each day.

Now, multiply that by the number of days you’re open per year – and we bet you’ll be shocked at how many hours are wasted in the simple act of opening and closing doors for daily business operations. High-speed doors will slash those hours significantly, and that’s mean money put directly back into your pockets.

Weather protection

The merchandise stored immediately to the interior of your warehouse or commercial building’s doors are susceptible to inclement weather whenever those doors are open. While strip doors can certainly help in this arena, high-speed doors do a much better job. At the first sign of wind, rain or a dust storm, the doors can be closed immediately, protecting valuable merchandise from destruction, damage and/or contamination.

Temperature and air quality control

The longer access doors are open, the more difficult it is to control the temperature in the interior spaces. Freezer high-speed doors are designed to function in temperatures as low as -22° F, so your frozen products or materials will be protected from the temperature of surrounding areas.

Similarly, special clean room models come equipped with minimal leak flow and pneumatic bottom edge detectors to minimize contamination between interior and exterior spaces, as well as specially divided interior spaces housing contaminant-sensitive products. Clean room high-speed doors are rated for interior contamination control in the pharmaceutical, hospital, laboratory, electronic and other controlled environments.

Energy savings

Again, the less time your doors spend in the open or cracked position, the less your heating and cooling systems have to work to maintain the building’s preferred temperatures. Since high-speed doors open and close so quickly, businesses experience notable energy savings during the peak hot and cold seasons. Reduced fuel costs are another unforeseen gain in efficiency because high-speed doors mean less time forklift operators, delivery and other service vehicles will spend idling as they wait. This is also a benefit to companies focused on environmentally friendly business practices.

Are you interested in learning more about your high-speed commercial rolling door options? Contact us here at R&S. We’re the Bay Area’s leading installers and maintenance professionals for commercial and industrial doors.

4 Common Loading Dock Hazards

4-common-loading-dock-hazards

The loading dock is a busy hub, which is why it can also be one of the most dangerous places to work. From inattentive truck drivers, to poorly lit or slippery areas, there is plenty of opportunity for accidents and injuries – and who wants that?

Your goal as a business or warehouse owner or manager is to keep your employees safe and free from harm. This requires continued education on your part, as well as the sharing of that information with your employees and anyone who spends time in the loading dock and bay.

Accidents are bound to happen, the more you maintain a proactive stance, the less often they will occur – and the less severe the accidents or personal injuries will be.

Here are 4 of the most common loading dock hazards as well as tips on how to prevent them:

  1. Failure to Use Required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE was invented for a reason, it provides extra protection to vulnerable body parts. There is nothing more frustrating than losing a valuable employee – for a day or a few weeks – for the simple reason that he or she wasn’t wearing the required PPE for their job. Typical PPE for warehouse and loading dock employees include things like:
    –Gloves
    –Hard Hats
    –Non-Slip Shoes
    –Eye protection
    –Support belts and braces when necessary
    Even something as simple as wearing a seatbelt when driving the forklift can make the difference between a minor and major accident-related injury. Institute a mandatory policy when it comes to employees and PPE. There should be a zero-tolerance plan in place for employees who fail to wear and implement PPE as advised.
  2. The Docks. The docks are a dangerous place for several reasons. Some of the most typical OSHA citations are handed out for unsafe dock conditions. Some of the most common hazards are associated with forklifts running over the dock edges, unsecured dock plates, employees jumping off the docks, or when products or equipment strike employees while they are on the dock. Make sure dock signage and barriers are clearly visible and keep your loading dock equipment in good working order, observing the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.
  3. Improper Lifting & Loading Techniques. Sometimes, it’s the little things that go wrong. In the case of warehouse and dock workers, day after day of lifting and moving heavy boxes can take a permanent toll on the body. If your workers aren’t trained in regards to safe lifting practices, they can wind up with lower back and/or joint injuries that lead to costly missed workdays, workers compensation claims and even disability – not to mention chronic pain issues. Provide general ergonomics training and specific task training to mitigate these risks. Training is not a one-and-done activity, but should be an ongoing focus of safety meetings and worker training refreshers. Also, encourage teamwork so employees never feel uncomfortable asking for assistance when they need it.
  4. Slips, Trips & Falls. The minute your dock or warehouse floors get wet, they get slippery. Slippery floors can lead to serious slip and fall accidents. Similarly, poor housekeeping can lead to debris on the floor, which poses both tripping hazards as well as forklift hazards. Train employees to clean up messes immediately and make a tidy warehouse and loading dock the norm. Perform routine sweeps of the areas and remove potential hazards. If and when spills occur, clean them up immediately and post adequate signage until the surface is completely dry.

A safe loading dock is a happier loading dock. Is your loading dock equipment in need of repair? Contact R&S and we’ll be happy to schedule an inspection and consultation to get your doors, lifts and other equipment in proper working order.

Loading Dock Etiquette for Truckers

loading-dock-etiquette-for-truckers

Loading dock safety is no laughing matter. The combination of big trucks, heavy equipment, large, heavy and/or oversized loads and a whole lot of hustle and bustle make loading docks and delivery bays a potential hotbed of safety violations and serious injury.

Some of the most dangerous scenarios involve the intersection of semi-trailer trucks and wee humans – with or without their forklifts. While everyone is doing their best to work quickly, efficiently and safely – getting into a blind daily routine can be dangerous for all involved.

Loading Dock Etiquette Can Save Lives and Improve Business

Truck drivers who observe a little loading dock etiquette can go a long way towards maintaining overall safety and improving the business relationship between their company and the client.

Be Humble & Communicate. This is easier said than done, but the more humble you are – the less likely there are to be issues. If it’s your first time to make a pick-up or delivery, pay close attention to loading dock signage and lights. Then, recognize what you all have in common – a desire to get the job done, even if your methods vary.

While truckers make money according to the number of deliveries they make, shipping/receiving personnel typically make money by the amount of hours they work. Thus, while truckers have an incentive to work quickly, getting in and out of the loading bay as rapidly as possible – shipping/receiving clerks may work more slowly, in the hopes of extending their hours and getting overtime. Communicating this same-but-opposite motivation can help you strike the middle ground.

Avoid Getting Overly Angry. You are going to be angry, frustrated and discouraged – possibly on a daily basis – depending on the personality-types who greet you in the loading bay. This is a given, but it doesn’t mean that being reactive will help. Yelling, swearing or threatening physical harm will only escalate the situation. Instead, it’s best to develop the feathers of a duck, so others’ idiocy – – er, we mean – – unprofessionalism, can roll right off your back.

Get Pertinent Information Ahead of Time. Talk to the other drivers and/or managers at your freight company to find out as much as you can about various companies, facilities, and potential loading dock issues ahead of time. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to cultivate patience (or load a few more of your favorite Netflix…). If a company is known to drag its feet, or something about a particular loading dock hinders the process or negatively affects a driver’s experience, freight company personnel can pick up the phone and have a conversation with the shipping/receiving managers. Hopefully, a compromise of sorts can be made.

Honor the Loading Dock Rules. Some loading docks are much more detail-oriented than others. While one company may only employ the use of a basic red light/green light safety system, others may employ lights, signage, dock restraint systems, tire chocking – and the list goes on. The more labor intensive it is for you to do your job, the more frustrating it is. We get it. But, the reality is that these features were employed because someone, somewhere was gravely injured or possibly even killed. Remember the aforementioned rule to “Be Humble.” Railing against the establishment won’t do anything to make your job there any easier.

Stay Awake, Alert and Professionally Attentive. When truck drivers fall asleep, leave their truck or are generally MIA, it slows things down. Yes, there are long waits involved when you’re a delivery driver, but that’s just the name of the game. Pay attention, provide the required information/documentation, patiently wait your turn and follow the dock rules – and you’ll be a part of the solution, rather than the problem.

The goal is for everyone to get their job done as professionally, efficiently and safely as possible. Observing a little loading dock etiquette for truckers will help to make that happen.

R&S Erection of Concord, CA

2424 Bates Ave. Concord , CA 94520
(925) 671-7606 Fax: (925) 671-7621
License # 667038

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925-671-7606

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