Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Vehicle Restraints (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Vehicle restraintsWhen trucks and other transport vehicles pull up to a loading dock, there is always a chance that an accident can occur if the is not properly secured during the unloading and loading process.

Now the Loading Dock Equipment Manufacturers (LODEM), an industry trade group affiliated with Materials Handling International, has released a new report called “Vehicle Restraints 101” that is designed to raise awareness about the importance of using vehicle restraints to avoid these types of accidents.

Prevention of Accidents and Injuries

Vehicles restraints are installed on loading docks to prevent the truck or transport vehicle from moving away from the dock until the loading or unloading procedure is complete. Typically, they are bolted to the dock below the doorway and can be secured to the truck when it pulls into the loading bay.

Vehicle restraints also can increase security and reduce theft or other shrinkage when they are used to secure trucks and cargo to the dock during times the dock is not being used.

Red Light/Green Light Communications

Some vehicle restraints include a red and green light communication system to help drivers and dock workers know when the vehicle restraint is and isn’t engaged. Other common equipment include dock bumpers and dock levelers.

In some cases, chocks are also used to secure the vehicle while it is pulled up to the dock. Usually made of durable rubber, chocks fit beneath the tires of the truck to prevent them from pulling away easily.

“It is … a serious hazard for a trailer to pull away from your loading dock while your forklift operator is still inside,” the report states in its introductory chapter, “Just what the heck is a vehicle restraint”. “A properly engaged restraint will prevent this.”

The document, which was first released in April 2013, also includes a comprehensive list of definitions and terms related to vehicle restraints, docks and delivery zones.

LODEM is a trade organization that includes many of the materials handling industry’s leading suppliers of loading dock equipment. It develops solutions for making loading docs more accessible and to improve the safe movement of goods within the dock area. In addition to vehicle restraints, these include elevating docks, dock levelers, dock boards, dock lights, bumpers, seals, shelters and traffic doors.