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Loading dock safety depends on equipment, inspection and training

| Oct 2, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

Almost all of the goods that people in Minnesota use are handled at loading docks and transported on trucks. This work involves connections between trailers and docks, and the connection can become a dangerous point of weakness in the loading system. Add forklifts to the equation, and the chances of accidents increase as the heavy equipment moves large loads in and out of trailers. The shifting weight of cargo and the failure of restraints on the truck and trailer could cause serious accidents. A tipping trailer or falling load can crush or kill dock workers and truckers.

Primary and secondary safety systems

When working on a dock, you should have access to multiple safety systems to prevent trailer tipping and other accidents. Restraining equipment that locks a trailer in place next to the dock serves as a primary safety system. An ideal restraining system holds the trailer to the dock from the top and bottom.

Your job site may also use wheel chocks to prevent vehicles from rolling. These are good as supplemental security for the truck but should not replace restraints that actually hold the truck’s trailer to the dock.

Equipment inspection

The demands placed on safety equipment wear it down eventually. The equipment requires regular inspection so that wear and tear can be detected and corrected before a restraining system fails and sends workers to the hospital.

Worker training and communication

Knowing how to use dock safety equipment reduces accidents. Workers need to understand how to secure various sizes of trailers and communicate hazards to their colleagues.

How to respond to workplace accidents

Getting medical care for injured workers is the first step after a loading dock accident. An employer’s workers’ comp insurance should pay for medical expenses and lost pay, but an injured worker needs to report the accident formally to the employer. Due to the desire of employers to limit claims on their insurance, you may want legal advice about how to access benefits and overcome efforts to limit or deny your settlement.