Warehouse receiving areas are some of the busiest places in a supply chain. Because of the variables involved with receiving such as unknown personnel (truck drivers) in your warehouse, the irregularity of goods received, and changing storage needs after product is received, this area in any operation can be very difficult to standardize. Amidst the controlled chaos of a receiving area, open dock doors that are not actively being used to unload a truck pose particular hazards for forklift operators and pedestrians. A lack of awareness of open dock doors can lead to dangerous situations that were more than likely preventable. Remembering a few important points about dock door safety might help increase safety while also maintaining as much efficiency as possible.
Reminders for Dock Door Safety
As an Operator, You Might Easily Back Off of One if You’re Not Paying Attention.
Even if you don’t see them in front of you, open dock doors are still there. It’s a major disaster if, in the middle of operating a forklift to handle material in the receiving area, an operator backs out an open door. Remember that awareness of what is behind you is key in maintaining dock door safety. Some dock levelers can be upgraded to automatically fold up into a protective barrier to help prevent the possibility of back off.
As a Pedestrian, You Might Easily Fall Off of One if Proper Precautions Are Not Taken.
OSHA standards require that wall opening with a drop of more than 4 feet must be chained off, roped off, or otherwise blocked off. If this precaution is not taken, distracted pedestrians might walk off open docks, potentially being harmed in the fall and being left vulnerable in a busy receiving area where trucks are moving in and out. While ropes or chains meet the OSHA requirement for block off, heavy duty safety barriers can also be purchased (many times from certified Toyota dealers).
As a Pedestrian and Operator, You Might Easily Forget that Trucks Will Eventually Fill the Door.
Dock doors are places where product is moved in quickly. Not every worker in an environment will know exactly when a truck will arrive. When working around a dock door, you must remember that semis are going to be pulling into those spaces, and drivers won’t always have the best visibility when backing in. Therefore, it is the responsibility of forklift operators and pedestrians to stand clear when a semi is arriving.
Article by Jake Stewart
Digital Content Copywriter, Toyota Material Handling, USA