Help Drive Forklift Safety On Loading Docks
So, how can employers improve Forklift Safety on Loading Docks?
Collisions and backovers are an ever-present danger at loading docks, where vehicles are entering and exiting. These risks can be lowered by posting “flow of traffic markings” and enforcing speed limits. Other recommendations include painting the edges of loading docks, staging areas and loading/unloading areas to enhance visibility, and installing a system of lights to communicate to drivers.
For example, a green light can indicate it’s safe to back into a loading bay, while a red light would imply it’s unsafe or the bay isn’t ready for use.
Once at the bay, drivers should shut off their engine and engage their brakes.
This can lessen the chances of two loading dock issues:
Drive-aways: These occur when a vehicle operator pulls away from a dock while workers or forklift operators are inside or near a trailer.
Trailer creep: When a truck trailer slowly inches away from a dock, it creates a gap that workers or forklifts may fall through. This gap is typically created by the force of a forklift or other heavy equipment moving in and out of a trailer.
One way to prevent drive-aways, is for drivers to check in and stay in a designated area or waiting room while their trailer is loaded or unloaded. This keeps drivers from accessing prohibited areas of the facility or areas where they could get hit by another vehicle or piece of heavy equipment.
To protect against trailer creep, experts recommend the use of wheel chocks or vehicle restraints to keep the trailer secure against the dock.
In addition, worn or defective trailer landing gear, designed to keep trailers level and secure when not attached to a vehicle, can present a significant hazard. If one or more legs falter, the trailer could tip and injure or kill anyone inside, especially operators of forklifts or other powered industrial trucks.
Risks arise for employers and employees alike when using a forklift on a loading dock where protection must be provided to prevent the forklift from being driven over the edge. The question is how best to guard the edge of the loading dock and still be able to operate the forklift truck efficiently.
Where there is a risk that a wheel may be driven over the edge of a loading dock, physical barriers or other appropriate systems shall be provided
Forklift Safety Starts at the Dock Door
At dock doors, a seal or shelter will help keep the effects of weather, such as slippery walking surfaces caused by rain or snow, from impacting workers.
Dock plates, dockboards and dock levelers are designed to bridge the gap between the trailer and the dock to ensure workers and forklifts can safely load or unload trailers. Problems can arise, however, if these items are unable to support the weight of moving equipment, materials and people, or if they aren’t properly maintained.
Employers need make sure that dock plates and levelers are stable and properly placed, and that loads don’t exceed their weight capacity.
Other factors should be taken into account include:
- The heaviest load that workers will move
- The weight of the heaviest forklift or material handling equipment, including attachments
- Whether a powered forklift has three or four wheels
- The size of a forklift’s tires
- Number of loads per shift or per day
Get Your Qualifications To Operate A Forklift Safely
Forklift safety on loading docks comes first. When working in a warehouse or on a jobsite, your work colleagues need to know what you’re able to operate your forklift safely all times. For that reason choose COVE Training we are your best bet. Our comprehensive, responsible and affordable programs will make sure you’re both competent and certified to operate a forklift, which reduces the risk of a forklift accident occurring.
Call 03 8773 9000 for more information. (RTO) No. 21386