5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Loading and Unloading Accidents Right Now

Only proper training can prevent forklift accidents.
(courtesy: Trashertown at flickr.com)

Accidents involving heavy machinery falling from loading ramps while loading and unloading can cause some of the worst kinds of workplace accidents.

Yet these types of industrial accidents — known as Loading, Unloading Exclusion Zone (LUEZ) incidents — are among the most common.

Here are five ways you can reduce the risk of LUEZ accidents in your workplace starting right away.

Keep People Out of the Way

The first and most obvious way to reduce the risk of LUEZ incidents is to keep people out of any area where machinery is being used to load or unload pallets, equipment, or other gear.

The most common cause of injury in LUEZ accidents is when equipment falls on top of workers stationed beneath it or adjacent to it. Keeping personnel out of the way removes this risk altogether.

Designate a Boss

Another common cause of LUEZ accidents is having either nobody in charge or too many people in charge of the operation. If too many people are giving orders — or nobody is in control of the task — it can lead to confusion, conflicting orders, and accidents.

Designate one person as the authority of the loading and unloading process then communicate this decision to everybody else.

If Operators Can’t See, They Should Stop

Create a work rule that if operators can’s see other workers during a LUEZ operation, all activity should stop immediately.

The most common scenario in serious accidents is that drivers accidentally run into or over other workers because they didn’t know they were there. Training drivers and other employees to stay focused and aware of each other at all times can help prevent LUEZ accidents.

Create No-Drive Zones

One of the most common reasons drivers flip their forklifts or drive off a ramp or dock is because they aren’t aware of where the edge is. This can easily be remedied by clearly marking areas where drivers shouldn’t go with bright floor tape or by erecting barriers to prevent them from reaching those areas in the first place.

When operations are going at full speed, it’s sometimes difficult for drivers to be aware of where their vehicle is in relation to edges or drop offs. Warning tape or guard rails offer visible, immediate warnings that can’t easily be ignored.

Make Regular Training Mandatory

Management and workers alike often resist regular safety training because it’s time-consuming and takes them away from their work.

But the time and money you invest in safety training usually will more than offset the expense of an injury accident — and the subsequent lawsuits and/or civil or even criminal penalties that can follow.

LUEZ accidents are usually avoidable. Following these five steps will help reduce the risk of LUEZ incidents in your workplace right away.


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