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Loading docks tend to be busy, frantic places. Trucks, forklifts, power jacks, and other equipment and vehicles are constantly coming and going.
When everything is working together in unison, it can be like watching a ballet. But even the slightest mistake can have a domino effect, throwing everything out of sync and causing long-term slowdowns and negatively impacting productivity.
Keeping your dock running efficiently is important. Here are five things you can do right now to instantly improve the smooth operation of your dock.
Be Ready for Spills
Liquid, oils, or other materials that spill onto the dock surface present an enormous hazard for both pedestrians and vehicles. Consequently, they need to be cleaned up right away. The sooner spills can be removed, the faster dock operations can return to normal.
Be ready for spills by having everything you need for cleanup standing by, including brooms, dustpans, mops, signage, and anything else you need.
Use Dock Plates
Dock plates bridge the gap between the dock’s edge and the truck or railcar bed. Using dock plates helps prevent forklifts and other vehicles from falling into the gap or off the dock.
Require Truckers to Use Wheel Chocks
Delivery drivers are always in a hurry. They usually have numerous stops to make before their day is done. So the less time they spend at your dock, the more likely they are to get home on time.
Still, dock safety is more important. Whenever appropriate, require drivers to exit their vehicles and chock their wheels to prevent their trucks from moving while being unloaded with forklifts and other equipment.
Turn Off Truck Engines
Drivers often prefer not to turn off their engines while their truck is being unloaded. But engine exhaust creates carbon monoxide that can be harmful to your workers — especially if your dock is enclosed or partially enclosed.
Require drivers to turn off their engines. Remember: When they are on your property, you are their boss. If they complain, call their supervisor.
Use the Right Tools for the Job
Use forklifts, power jacks, manual jacks, and other materials handling equipment to lift and transport loads. Don’t try to lift anything heavy manually.
Even though it may be busy, take your time to do the job properly. An accident will only bring your operations to a complete halt.
Creating a culture of safety is the single most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of dock accidents. Set the example for your employees, enforce your work rules, and insist that everybody — including visitors — follow your lead and you will have fewer slowdowns and more efficiency.