By John Moran, freelance writer.
Safety is at the top of the priority list for many companies. And warehouses have a lot of regulations from OSHA to make sure they stay safe for the workers there. However, one area that gets overlooked is the loading dock.
A lot should go into the safety of the dock from the loading dock design if it is being newly built to routine maintenance to keep it performing as it should. Safety is a real balancing act since the loading dock is a busy and chaotic area that relies on a lot of moving parts coming together at the same time. If any element is out of order it can spell disaster.
In this article, we will go over several items to keep in mind for the safety of the loading dockworkers at the warehouse.
1 - Employee training
Safety is everybody’s responsibility including the employees themselves. However, they need to be given the tools to stay safe and then taught how to use them by the company. Training employee safety is the first step since no matter how safe the mechanisms at the dock are. It takes an alert employee to know the signs to look for when things can go wrong.
The onboarding process should include an exhaustive training program to make it second nature to work within the safety parameters they trained for. Then, refresher training sessions should happen regularly throughout their employment.
There is a list of requirements from OSHA regarding what these employees need to be trained on. A good company will go beyond these basics and train for a wider range of elements that a worker is likely to face.
2 - Standard operating procedures
OSHA has its general guidelines for safety but every warehouse and loading dock is designed differently. This means that every company needs to outline its own standard operating procedure.
Part of the training needs to focus on how this particular warehouse does things to keep it safe. For instance, there needs to be a procedure to inspect pallets and destroy damaged ones so they don’t get used again and fail. Another idea is to outline how to secure dockplates and bridges.
SOPs should include keeping the area clean and clear so there are no obstructions that could compromise the safe delivery of a load. Spill response tools should be kept near the loading dock and easy to access.
3 - Logistics
All too often, deliveries are unloaded and left near the loading dock. This is usually because there is a bottleneck somewhere in the system. Getting the deliveries unloaded and put in their proper area of the warehouse needs to be prioritized so there are no obstacles around the area.
Logistics can be managed to make the process smoother so everything gets sorted much faster. Create a system in which the process of moving deliveries from the dock to the warehouse by using a new software system or a communications device. Figure out where the bottlenecks are occurring and go from there.
John Moran is an American who enjoys the fine art of living well. His interests include anything wine, food or nature related especially when enjoyed with friends and family.