Loss Control Insights

Making Loading Docks Safer

loading dock

Slip and Fall Danger Zone
Some of the most common loading dock accidents are slips, trips and falls because:

  • Loading docks are exposed to rain, snow and debris which can easily gather on the floor.
  • The constant flow of forklift trucks in and out of the loading area creates the potential for leaking truck fluids on the floor.
  • Packing materials such as paper, plastic, metal bands and clips often litter the floor of busy loading docks.
  • The concrete floors often found in loading dock areas tend to be slippery when wet.
  • The typical loading dock is 48 to 52 inches off the ground which presents a hazard on the edge.

Loading Dock Safety Best Practices
The first step in making loading docks safer is to conduct a thorough risk analysis of your facility. Other best practices include:

  • Making sure all personnel are trained in dock safety and the proper use of dock plates and levelers.
  • Assigning cleaning and maintenance of the loading dock floor to shipping/receiving personnel.
  • Only allowing trained, authorized employees to operate powered hand trucks, hand jacks or forklifts.
  • Using reflective yellow paint to outline the edge of the loading dock and training employees to stay clear of edges.
  • Keeping the dock area free from moisture (e.g., rain, snow and truck fluids) at all times, and providing a dock seal or shelter to keep floors dry.
  • Using some type of barricade to prevent accidental dock run offs when not in use. They can range from powered mechanical arms to simple safety ropes or chains.
  • Keeping the loading dock area well lit at all times.
  • Including a section in your employee handbook to clearly state that the loading dock is not a “quick” exit for employees— no jumping off the loading dock.

Each year, 20,000 people are seriously injured in loading dock accidents. Ten percent of all workers’ compensation losses are a result of those accidents, according to a study by Vestil, Inc. Take action today to help prevent accidents from happening on your dock. Check out this EMC online resource for more tips about loading dock safety: