As suppliers of PVC strips to many warehouse owners we are well aware that loading bays can be dangerous places as they tend to be busy with employees, forklift trucks and goods.
Loading docks are potential accidents waiting to happen, and any accidents that do happen here can cause employees to be off work for 3 to 6 months, or in the worst-case scenarios they can be fatal. A lot of these accidents can be put down to failure to observe health and safety protocols and sheer negligence. As a warehouse owner, there are a few health and safety tasks you should undertake to ensure you are working hard to avoid potential risks, and also complying with the various legal requirements places on you as well.
Here are some of our loading dock health and safety tips:
Avoid Slips and Trips
To prevent slipping and tripping accidents you need to ensure that the area is kept clear of water - be it rain or snow, or other liquids being spilt. As it is so important that this area is kept clear at all time, it may be worthwhile investing in a de-icer to make sure snow and ice aren't brought in over the winter period.
You should also ensure that the area is kept clear of trip hazards such as bins, tools and so on. Additionally, the floor area should be regularly maintained to ensure there are no cracks which could cause potential threats to operations.
An excellent way to make sure that pedestrians don't fall off the edge of the loading bay is to paint it a bright colour such as yellow and also maybe think about having some hazard lighting installed as well. Exits and entrances should also be well-marked, and there should be adequate lighting throughout the whole area and inside any trucks as well.
You should also ensure that if you have any stairs or ladders in this area, they are not only stable but well maintained. If your employees also follow necessary safety precautions and don't partake in any risky behaviour, then you should be OK.
Correct Lifting Procedures
A common injury which occurs when employees are loading and unloading trucks are back injuries due to incorrect manual lifting. This is why it is essential that ergonomic assessments are completed regularly, and risk of injury is determined. Wherever it is possible, mechanical lifting devices such as forklifts should be used.
Use Wheel Chocks
Using wheel chocks on lorries can help to prevent movement during the loading and unloading processes. One idea is to have a designated employee to oversee the operation and maintenance of the wheel chocks.
Consider Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
If you are dealing with a large amount of traffic in and out of your loading bay, then you will have to have some kind of carbon monoxide poisoning prevention method in place. This is because vehicles produce engine fumes which tend to have a high percentage of carbon monoxide in them. Inhaling too much of this gas can lead to employees suffering from dizziness, asphyxiation, and can even lead to fainting or death. Therefore, truck drivers should always be reminded to turn off their engines during loading and unloading procedures, and carbon monoxide alarms should also be put in place.
These are just some of our top tips for keeping your warehouse safe. For more information on our range of commercial warehouse products, including space heaters, please get in touch today.