Loading docks can be perilous areas of warehouses. There are a lot of moving parts, with trucks pulling in and out to load and unload, forklifts busy nearby, and dozens of workers walking and working through the area. Loading docks can be recipe for disaster when it comes to dock employees getting injured. If people are not paying attention, the risks of suffering a work-related injury increases significantly. The best way to prevent loading dock injuries is to know and understand the dangers and safety hazards that dock workers face.
Common Loading Dock Safety Hazards
There are many ways for dock workers to be injured, given that loading docks can be complex areas of a warehouse. In busy and equipment-centric areas, there is always the chance of injury, no matter the precautions and training implemented by management. If dock workers are not paying attention, people can get hurt.
Here are some common dock safety hazards to look out for:
- Slips and trips: Whenever there are areas of the warehouse that are open to outside weather, the dock floors can become slippery and dangerous. Often, loading docks and walkways into the trailers can become covered with snow and ice accumulation. Also, when there’s heavy rain it can make the smooth concrete floors of a loading dock area slick and slippery, increasing the risk of falls.
- Falling off the dock ledge: Many work-related loading dock injuries occur when employees accidentally fall off the loading dock edge. Most loading docks are on average about 4 feet in height so that most commercial semi-trucks can back up to the dock and the floor of the trailer will be even with the dock. When a worker falls unexpectedly from a height of 4 feet, they can be seriously injured, especially if they hit their head on the hard asphalt.
- Unsecured dock plates: Dock plates are flat pieces of metal that are designed to be secured to the trailer and lay flat over the gap between the trailer and the edge of the dock. Dock plates allow workers to safely walk into the trailer as well as allowing forklifts to safely drive over the gap when loading and unloading trailers. When the dock plate is not secured, it can get kicked loose, causing workers to fall into the gap. It can also cause forklifts to crash.
- Un-chocked trailer wheels: When trailers are parked at a dock for loading or unloading, many times there is not a semi-truck attached to the front. When it is just the trailer, the wheels of the trailer are supposed to have chocks placed against them. Chocks are blocks that are designed to stop the wheels from moving. If a trailer does not have chocks, it could potentially move, especially when heavy forklifts are going into and out of the trailer dozens or even hundreds of times. If the trailer moves, it can cause workers to fall in the gap, as well as forklifts to fall out of the trailer causing injuries.
Many of these dangers can be avoided by being diligent and having detailed safety protocols that are followed by management and employees alike.
The Pottstown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Have Decades of Experience in Helping Injured Pennsylvania Workers
If you have suffered a work-related injury and are not getting the workers’ comp benefits you deserve, you may need legal help. Our knowledgeable Pottstown Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC are here to fight for your rights to receive the comp benefits coming to you. Call 610-594-1600 or contact us online to schedule a free case review today. Located in Exton, we work with clients in and around West Chester, Downingtown, Exton, Phoenixville, Wagontown, Malvern, Lyndell, Uwchland, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Reading, Morgantown, and all of Chester County and Pennsylvania.