In the previous post, I discussed the importance of properly loading tractor-trailers before leaving the docks. Failing to do so can cause fatal accidents and the need for legal intervention. This is the reason why it is so important to ensure that the loading docks are a safe place for people to work. It is essential that the people in charge of loading are able to think clearly and operate efficiently, so the truckers can remain on schedule without endangering other drivers on the road.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that the docks are a safe working environment. The law supports employees injured while on the job, especially if the injury is deemed “preventable.” There are several things that must be done to ensure that this is so.
First and foremost, all workers should receive proper training. As mentioned in the previous post, inexperience can lead to very costly mistakes in the trucking industry. All new Saint Petersburg hires should undergo a thorough training process and all rules outlined should be strictly enforced. This is the only way that you can be sure that you will not land in hot water because of a foolish decision on the part of your employee.
Each and every truck should be properly secured before the loading process begins. Trucks are very large and very heavy. If the loading leads to some form of momentum and the truck is not positioned properly, the brakes are not engaged, or the trailer is not securely attached, injuries become a very real risk.
Signage is a necessity at loading docks with multiple bays. It is very common for loading docks to be busy areas, with many people getting around on foot, others on machinery, and still others operating the over-sized trucks. It is important to have a clear-cut traffic pattern so no one is hurt.
All employees and visitors should wear proper protection. Depending on the materials being handled, this safety gear may include hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, or back braces. This should be mandated and a warning should be clearly displayed. Do not make exceptions for anyone entering the loading area.
Packaging and tie-downs play a big part in keeping truckers and employees safe. All packaging, pallets, bungees, and straps should be inspected for possible defects. Any questionable materials should be replaced to protect everyone involved from injury.
Spills and moisture should be cleaned up immediately. Wet or slick surfaces at the bay or on the tractor trailer can be dangerous for forklift operators and manual loaders, as they are a slipping hazard. Ensure that messes of any kind, but particularly those that involve, liquid are dealt with immediately.
One of the biggest causes of injury on job sites is ladders. Ensure that stairs and ladders are regularly inspected. Possible defects should be noted and repaired as soon as they are spotted.
Safety should be a primary concern at any workplace, but where there are as many variables as found at loading docks, the stakes are even higher. There are far too many ways that things can go wrong if an employer is not properly invested in establishing regulations and routines. Keep your employees, drivers, and others on the road safe; protect yourself from the need to see a personal injury attorney by ensuring that safety begins at your St. Petersburg docks.