The loading dock is likely the heart of your manufacturing facility in many ways. It takes in all the materials you need to manufacture your great offerings and sends those finished products back out the door again. This is an area of heavy activity, which increases safety risk in a number of ways for your employees and visitors.
For that reason, now is the time to review your safety standards on the loading dock and ensure you are doing enough to protect all involved. The following tips should help you do just that:
1) Make sure your levelers are in good shape
The dock levelers or lifts you use multiple times every day literally create a connection with your facility and shipping partners, and are subject to a lot of wear and tear, according to Action Lift. As such, you should routinely inspect these devices to make sure they're holding up to heavy daily use and proactively address any potential issues that could cause a breakdown.
2) Check the bumpers
Along similar lines, it's a good idea to ensure that the bumpers around your loading dock have held up to the beating they take from all manner of vehicles and heavy equipment, Action Lift said. If there's a point where they can't take the bumps they're supposed to, that could lead to damage or even an injurious accident.
3) How are the seals holding up?
When your loading dock bays are closed, you count on your doors and the seals around them to ensure the elements are kept out of your facility, Action Lift further cautioned. But when the seals break down, rain and other precipitation can creep into your facility, and potentially pose a slipping hazard for unaware employees.
4) Examine areas and equipment at high risk for damage
Over time, the floor and walls in and around your loading dock could be facing a critical breakdown because of how much activity they see and how much small damage they can take each day, according to Rite Hite. Check for cracks, dents, chips, and other obvious signs of the damage that comes with normal loading dock activity and determine whether now is a good time to repair it — before it becomes an even bigger issue.
5) Add a light system
Even today, too many loading docks are lit dimly, and that can create serious hazards, Rite Hite added. First, it means they may not be able to see potential obstacles in front of them as they navigate the dock, but it may also make it more difficult to communicate with one another.
6) Set policies for worker behavior
While you no doubt have plenty of safety standards in place for your facility, some workers may think the loading dock has less risk involved, according to Safesite. You know, of course, that this isn't the case, and it's important to codify all kinds of new rules for the unique issues loading dock workers face.
7) Establish rules around heavy equipment use
Likewise, make sure your employees behave properly around trucks, forklifts, pallet jacks and so on, Safesite advised. Put these rules into effect and train workers for the right techniques.