Truckers will typically have to spend at least some of their work week at a loading dock, whether they are the ones doing the loading and unloading, or other people are doing it for them. As you might expect, there are plenty of potential safety hazards that come with doing so, and it's everyone's job to make sure those are avoided at all costs.
However, it's always a good idea not to let other people be responsible for your safety, so the following tips are vital for you, as a trucker, to follow:
1) Lock the truck to the bay
This should go without saying, but you don't want your truck shifting or "floating" away from the dock while you or others are loading and unloading it, according to Barron Equipment. As such, use whatever devices you can to lock the vehicle into place, including those on the building itself, or chocking your wheels into place.
2) Use dock plates or boards
Likewise, you don't want to create a situation where anyone has to take a step up, down or over a gap while loading and unloading your trailer, Barron Equipment advised. Consequently, you should utilize dock plates or boards no matter what the other conditions are, and make sure they are in good shape first.
3) Look out for debris or slippery surfaces
Loading docks can be busy places and that often means they can have stuff on the ground, Barron Equipment further noted. Whether it's discarded packing material or puddles from a recent rain event, make sure it's cleared out of everyone's path before you start moving around the space.
4) Be aware of all pedestrians and other vehicles
Another thing to be aware of in high-traffic areas is the fact that people and machinery alike are probably moving around constantly, according to Safety + Health. You need to keep your head on a swivel so you can avoid any potential hazards, whether you're on foot or behind the wheel of your big rig.
5) Be careful of the drop
Some loading bays may be wider than your truck, or you may simply want to go from the dock to the parking lot, but you have to be careful of how big that drop-off can be, Safety + Health added. A drop down of even four feet can greatly increase injury risk, so jumping from that height should be avoided. It's just safer to use a nearby set of stairs.
6) Make sure the trailer is well-lit
You never want to be in a situation where you or others are moving around in dim or totally dark conditions as you try to load or unload the trailer, according to Protective Insurance. As a result, ensuring the whole space is adequately lit is a must for proper safety techniques.
7) Don't operate machinery if you don't have proper certification
It may be tempting to use a pallet jack or forklift as you move stuff into or out of your truck, but if you're not properly certified to do so, you should avoid it, Protective Insurance said. That way, risk is mitigated and other workers can tackle the task for you.
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