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4 Tips to Enhance Loading Dock Safety

13 April, 2023

There are more than 4.2 million material movers in the U.S., most of which work in transportation and warehousing.  In 2022, 19 loading dock accidents were reported to OSHA: 

  • More than 145,000 people work in over 7,000 warehouses. 
  • More than 25% of all industrial accidents happen on loading docks. 
  • In 2022, OSHA reported 7 loading dock fatalities.

According to?OSHA, material handling workplaces can avoid 70% of all accidents by using better precautions. Modern technology is assisting warehouse and dock safety through hazard-recognition, locking dock control, and warning systems. When safety tools work together, workplaces lower the risk of potential injury.

Here are four simple tips to improve dock safety: 

  1. Check Equipment: Chock trailer wheels and brace equipment during servicing or maintenance to prevent struck-bys. Make sure there is ventilation in areas that have chemicals, including equipment that runs on propane or gas.
  2. Watch your step: Prepare dock areas for extreme weather by maintaining adequate lighting and keeping loading areas clean. Identify walkways, dock edges, and bollard posts. Report flooring cracks and other potential surface hazards. Clean up spills promptly.
  3. Warning signs: Provide visual signs for workers working near dock edges.
  4. Take your time: Drive forklifts slowly on docks and dock plates.

Loading docks can be a dangerous place. Slips, trips and falls are common in the industrial workplace. In 2018, a worker died from being struck by equipment in a?loading dock area. According to OSHA, maintenance did not follow standards or safety best practices.

"Employers are required to train workers on safety practices, and use appropriate hazard controls to ensure their safety," said OSHA official Jeff Funke. "Proper safety controls and training can prevent fatalities like this from occurring." 

Improve Communication 

Communication about hazards and safety strategies is crucial. Train all workers on loading dock safety as part of ongoing accident prevention.  

  • Reinforce safety practices with visual communication. Use floor lines and signs to identify safe pedestrian routes and traffic crossings.  
  • Document maintenance and other heavy machinery handling. Employers can improve their workplace safety signage with expert help from DuraLabel. Get help crafting a system that will provide the safety communication you need. Call 1-888-326-9244 and one of our experts will guide you through the process.??