Material Handling and Loading Dock Safety 101

Material Handling Safety Demonstrated
Material Handling Safety Demonstrated

Loading docks are busy areas for material handling, with many people going in and out. Packaging, lift trucks, pallet wrap systems, and other types of industrial equipment are often found nearby.  Because of the high-level of activity that occurs around loading docks, and the speed of which people are trying to load and unload trucks, there are a number of ways workers can be injured.  We will take a look at these situations, and the way injuries can be prevented.

The first way workers can be injured at a loading dock is when movement occurs with the weight transfer of goods during loading and unloading. This is also known as “trailer drop”, and is responsible for many chronic neck and back injuries. Depending on weight, the bed of a trailer can actually drop nearly 8 inches while goods are being loaded in or out of the truck. This movement can put significant strain on a lift truck operator. Using stabilizing restraints on the trailer which stops movement, either horizontally or vertically, can prevent this.

Another way injuries can occur is through jarring, or “dock shock”.  Forklift operators frequently experience this type of vibration as they cross over old-style dock levelers, which are placed between the floor of the warehouse and the bed of the trailer.  Purchasing a leveler that allows for a smooth path without gaps, or bumps, will significantly reduce the amount of jarring that occurs as your lift truck operator crosses it.

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