Improving Safety in Your Loading Dock Area
Improving Safety in Your Loading Dock Area A loading dock is a vital component of your operational flow, however, it is can also be one of the most neglected and hazardous pinch points for many product distribution operations. The proper dock equipment, when appropriately applied, can help streamline the loading and unloading process, increase productivity and save valuable time and money. But even more importantly, dock equipment helps to ensure your loading dock area is safe not only for the well-being of your workers, but your valuable product as well.
There is a wide variety of loading dock equipment available to help ensure the safe and efficient handling of your goods. If you are looking to improve safety in your loading dock area, investing in the following equipment can make the loading and unloading of your goods more convenient and safe:
Loading dock levelers, also commonly referred to as pit levelers, help bridge the gap between the trailer and loading dock to help ensure the safe and smooth transfer of goods from the trailer bed to the dock. They are available in various styles and modes of operation including mechanical, hydraulic and air, that can accommodate different types of vehicles.
Hydraulic & Mechanical Dock Levelers
Hydraulic Dock Levelers are powered by an electrohydraulic system and are operated by a push of a button. They come in a variety of sizes and capacities up to 80,000 lbs.They can be used with both forklifts and pallet jacks. They are mounted in a pre-formed pit at the dock and help to provide a smooth transition from the trailer bed to the dock.
Mechanical Dock Levelers are operated by a pull chain, with the operator standing on the leveler to control it’s decent. They are safe to use and create a smooth platform between the lower dock and trailer bed.
Vertical Dock Levelers
Vertical Dock Levelers are stored or parked in a vertical position. The leveler is then lowered at a controlled rate until itrests on the trailer bed. After the goods have been loaded/unloaded, the operator simply activates the raise button and the dock leveler returns to a vertical (stored) position. These styles are commonly used in food processing and storage facilities.
Edge of Dock Levelers
Edge of Dock Levelers are an economical alternative to dock plates or pit levelers, provided the height difference between the dock and bed of the trailer does not exceed 2″ above or below the level of the dock. They are usually mounted to the face of the loading dock and secured to a curb channel embedded in the concrete. These styles of dock levelers are activated by pressing a control button that raises the lip, and once fully extended, the button is released and the dock leveler lowers to rest on the bed of the trailer. When finished, the leveler returns to a stored position.
Dock Seals & Shelters
Loading dock seals or shelters are another important piece of loading dock equipment. They are low-maintenance enclosures that seal the gap between the vehicle body and loading bay, helping to improve both working conditions and operational efficiencies by protecting against drafts and weather during the loading and unloading procedure.
Dock Compression Seals
Dock Compression Seals create a foam-filled compression type seal around a trailer’s top and sides, helping to keep outside elements from entering your facility. You can achieve up to a 90% energy savings with a dock compression seal and they are less expensive to install than a dock shelter.
Dock Shelters create a perimeter type seal on the truck trailer and provide complete unimpeded trailer access and protection between the loading dock door and the opening of the truck. You can achieve up to a 70% energy savings with a dock shelter however, they can accommodate a larger size scope of truck trailers. It is also common for dock shelters to be used in conjunction with dock seals.
Loading Dock Accessories
There are a wide variety of loading dock accessories available that will help to enhance the safety in your loading dock area. Devices such as vehicle restraints and innovative communication stop & go light systems can play an important part in making your loading dock area more secure, ensuring minimal downtime and maximum productivity.
Vehicle restraints contribute towards worker and facility safety by holding trucks in place during the loading and unloading of goods. These restraints are designed to prevent accidents and apply a considerable amount of restraining force to prevent a truck from edging away from the dock or pulling out prematurely. They are ideal for defending again the following issues:
- Early Truck Departure – when a driver ties to move his truck away from the loading dock too soon.
- Trailer Creep – when the truck trailer slowly moves away from the loading dock, due to the force of impact of the forklift during travel between the dock and the truck bed.
- Forklift Fall off – trailer creep can cause a gap between the dock and the truck bed that the forklift could potentially fall into.
Stop & Go Light Communication Systems
Stop & Go Light Communication Systems – Stop & Go loading dock signals are a simple, but extremely effective, way to protect truck drivers, forklift operators and other personnel from potential accidents happening during the loading and unloading process.
They notify drivers outside and loading dock personnel inside about the status of the loading or unloading operations taking place, which helps to manage traffic flow and prevent unscheduled truck departures and trailer entries. The red and green lights notify truck drivers when it is safe for them to pull away from the loading dock bay.