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Safety Tip of the Week - View Archives
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December 5, 2022

Loading Dock Safety
A loading dock or loading bay is an area of a building or warehouse where trucks or other vehicles load and unload goods and materials. Loading docks expose workers to many hazards due to the heavy traffic by forklifts, trucks, workers, and ongoing activities. Approximately 25% of all reported warehouse injuries occur on or around loading docks every year. That percentage does not include the thousands of near misses.
    Safety Tips for Loading Docks

    • Trailer creep is one of the most serious loading dock hazards.
      Trailer creep occurs when a semi-trailer becomes separated from the loading
      dock during
      the loading or unloading of materials due to the movement of a forklift moving in and out of the trailer.

    • Use a rear impact guard-locking device on trailers to ensure it will not
      separate from the dock. If not available, use wheel chocks.

    • The use of stop/go or red/green lights help to communicate
      with drivers when it is safe to dock or undock.

    Truck drivers

    • Brakes shall be set, and wheel blocks shall be in place.

    • Truck drivers are to exit the vehicle and wait in a designated area while
      loading or unloading is performed on loading docks.

    • Inform all truck drivers of any company policy and procedures they
      need to follow while loading or unloading on loading docks.

    • All paperwork must be completed before providing the driver access
      to leave the loading dock.

    Limit vehicle and pedestrian traffic around loading docks.

    • Provide signage for docking directions for all incoming vehicles and routes for exiting the facility.

    • Mark all walkways with a high-visibility paint to indicate where pedestrians are allowed to walk. Only loading personnel are allowed in the loading area during loading/unloading activities – guests and visitors must remain on the marked walkways.

    • Mark all intersections where a forklift and pedestrians may come in contact.

    Dock boards and plates are useful for providing a safe transition
    between vehicles and loading docks for material handling applications.

    • Must be capable of supporting the maximum intended load.

    • It requires a method to anchor to prevent movement out of a safe position.

    • Must be inspected before each use.

    • Use proper lifting techniques when moving or lifting into position.

    • May only be used once the trailer is locked in and wheel chocks are in place.


    • Perform pre-use operation inspection and follow all company rules and procedures.

    • Sound horn at all corners and intersections and when entering and
      exiting trailers during loading or unloading.

    • Stop at all crosswalks and be aware of any pedestrians.

    • Travel at a safe speed with a clear view of the direction of travel. If the load
      carried is obstructing the view of travel, drive in reverse until the loading destination is reached.

    • Inspect all trailers for damage and integrity before entering to load or unload.

    Housekeeping is always a key factor in any area and is everyone’s responsibility.

    • Keep floors dry. Wet floors can cause forklifts to spin and slide when braking or turning and causing slip, trip, and fall hazards for pedestrians.

    • Keep all walkways marked and free of obstructions.

    • Keep the loading dock area clean, remove any clutter, and keep area free of accumulated dust and debris.

    Guarding from falls.

    • Provide barricades or regulated guarding on all loading dock access areas more than 4 feet from the lower level to protect personnel from accidental falls.

    • Stay away from loading dock edges, never jump onto or off a loading dock.


    • All personnel involved in the loading dock area should be trained on every aspect of the area.

    • Only trained and qualified personnel should be allowed in the loading dock area.

    • Only trained and certified personnel may operate a forklift.

      Source:  Glenn Dickey, All-Safe Program Manager at AgriSphere Services, LLC, Decatur, IL:
      Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg
      and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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      Grain Journal, 3065 Pershing Ct., Decatur, IL 62526, United States

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