Captain Clyde's Safety Pin #17: When on the Clock, Respect the Dock
Today's Safety Sunday Tip is: When on the Clock, Respect the Dock!
With so many moving pieces potentially in play, ensuring loading dock safety at our warehouses, yards, and ports can be challenging. Not only is it imperative to make sure all team members are trained in dock safety, but it's also crucial that these measures are enforced.
Here are a few tips to help with loading dock safety:
- You can protect pedestrians in the immediate dock area by making sure they are aware of any powered industrial trucks in use.
- Marking floors with yellow tape or paint to identify walkway barriers, doorways, parking aisles, and overhead obstacles can be a great reminder for both employees and equipment operators.
- Protect people traveling through your facility by making them aware of sharp corners or steep dock edges. Place guards around the sharp corners and put dock barricades on open dock edges.
- Put an inspection program in place to review palletized materials. If pallets are defective, the product should be moved to a safe pallet.
- Limit the amount of weight a worker must carry and allow for assisted lifting from other workers. The maximum weight for one person to lift should not be over 40-50 pounds. All pinch points should be protected and labeled.
- Use plastic or metal banding to secure product to pallets for transportation or storage. Shrink-wrap loose products for transport or storage as it is essential to secure small items that might fall through the overhead guard of a lift truck.
- Clean out dock areas periodically to remove accumulated debris.
- You should only allow documented, trained, and authorized employees to operate powered hand trucks, hand jacks, or forklifts.
- Inspect the dock area daily to ensure that emergency equipment is not blocked or damaged.
- Paint the dock edge a reflective yellow to provide a better view of the dock.
- Ensure proper illumination for exit routes.
- Prohibit dock jumping, which can lead to severe ankle, knee, and back injuries.
- Make sure that dock plates and boards are designed for the loads and lift trucks used.
- Always inspect the floors of trailers and trucks before a forklift or pallet jack is driven onto them.
- Always check the landing gear and place trailer stabilizing jack stands under trailers that are spotted at a dock.
- Make sure dock levelers are returned to a stored position after being used below the dock as this will eliminate a "void in the floor" and help prevent forklift cross traffic accidents.
Evaluating and developing these operational procedures increases the general awareness and provides employees with the proper training. This awareness, combined with appropriate enforcement of safety practices, can improve loading dock safety for everyone. Be anchored to safety… when on the clock respect the dock!