Tips to Maximize Dock Safety
Loading docks are full of hazards that can lead to a serious injury or illness. Below is a list of safe work practices to follow when working on a loading dock. Read this information, and put the items on the list into practice to help protect yourself and others.
OBEY SAFETY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Do not enter the loading dock unless permitted. Also, ensure unauthorized personnel stay out. Be aware of and obey all safety rules, such as loading and unloading procedures, forklift operations, and no smoking or horseplay on the dock.
WEAR APPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR
Water, floor cleaners, oils, and other contaminants can make a floor slippery. Do not wear sandals, cowboy boots, or other footwear that has little or no traction. Wear work shoes with slip-resistant soles and steel toes in case a heavy object falls on your feet.
USE PROPER LIFTING TECHNIQUES
Back and shoulder injuries caused by improper lifting, pushing, and pulling are common. Size up a load before attempting to lift it. Ask for help if needed. Use lifting straps or material handling equipment you are trained on and certified to operate (i.e., forklift, handcart, dolly, etc.). Also, make sure your pathway is clear before starting. Do not hurry. Use your legs, not your back, and keep the load close to your body.
COMMUNICATE HAZARDS IMMEDIATELY
Clean up spills immediately. Place a warning sign in the area, or have someone stand watch to warn others until you can remove the hazard. Additionally, if you find a trip hazard, pick it up or ask for help to move the object.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Distracted walking is a common cause of slips, trips, and falls. Do not talk on the phone, text, or perform other tasks while walking. Pay attention to where you are walking and be on the lookout for hazards on the floor, forklifts, and other people.
UTILIZE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
When handling freight, wear gloves, back support harnesses, eye protection, hard hats, and face masks. When working from elevated positions (i.e., scaffolding), utilize fall-protection equipment. Be mindful of the location of emergency equipment, like first aid kits, fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, and safety data sheets.
BE CAUTIOUS DURING LOADING AND UNLOADING
Chock the trailer wheels before loading and unloading to ensure the trailer does not move. Secure the trailer to the dock to prevent trailer creep. Use barriers on the dock opening to prevent falls. Ensure clear communication between driver and dock personnel (e.g., when it is safe to pull away). If using a dock plate, make sure it is secure and can safely support the load.
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.
© Great West Casualty Company 2020. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “© Great West Casualty Company 2020. Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.”
This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.