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How to protect workers on or near loading docks or bays

Protecting workers who are exposed to hazards at a loading dock is vital to making sure there aren't slip-and-fall accidents, crushing injuries or other major incidents. Some of the safety precautions that should be in place include black-and-yellow safety striping, truck restraints and indicator light systems.

As a worker, if you're exposed to hazards and hurt, you may be entitled to compensation through your workers' compensation insurance. Even if you're self-employed, if you can prove the premises was hazardous, you may be able to make a claim.

Why are safety precautions important? A black-and-yellow stripe can show workers that stepping beyond that point isn't safe and could lead to a drop off the dock. It could indicate to drivers where to park the vehicle while loads are being disembarked. The stripe may also show where the door closes, so workers don't get caught under it.

Truck restraints come in a few forms, including manual or hydraulic restraints. These help capture trailers if they break free from the truck or forklifts used to haul away goods.

Indicator lights are also beneficial in the workplace, because they can tell workers when it's safe to enter an area or when it's time to back away. Truck drivers can tell when they can back into the dock safely, and they also know when they can leave without risking anyone's lives.

Guarding docks is key to preventing falling accidents, so protective barriers or guardrails should be implemented. They provide not only a physical barrier, but also a visual indicator of where the dock ends.

Source: Modern Materials Handling, "Safety: Protecting workers at the loading dock," Bridget McCrea, accessed June 08, 2016

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