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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Loading Dock Safety

Loading dock safety is difficult to manage because of constantly moving vehicles, people and materials. Listen to this podcast for tips on improving safety at your loading dock.

Workers should beware of trucks backing up trailers, forklifts and other powered transport devices.

When walking or driving, employees should be wary of the dock edge. A fall from a typical six to eight from edge can cause great injury. Warning signs and labels should be observed and heeded.

The dock staff will maintain safety by keeping the loading dock clear of debris, liquids and visitors.

Incoming and outgoing materials must be checked for proper labeling.

Lift materials safely. If any area on the dock becomes unsafe, immediately notify a manager.


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Loading_Dock_Safety-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x179Dan Clark: The loading dock. The place where equipment, materials and weather co-mingle, and non-employees somehow get in the way.

Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

Loading docks: the land that safety forgot? Take these steps to reduce hazards and avoid accidents.


  • Never get behind a backing trailer. Dockworkers should be given this lesson first in the general training that all should receive.
  • Follow traffic instructions. Signs, floor and traffic markings outside the loading dock should all be followed. Mirrors at blind corners are a good investment for a company.
  • Watch the edges. Loading docks, by design, have edges. Railings and toe boards are good safety mechanisms, but workers need to keep their distance. If you’re driving a forklift or other piece of machinery, be extra cautious. Always look in the direction the forklift is traveling.


  • Keep the area clear. Is dunnage managed properly? If something’s in the way, pick it up and stow it. Have a safe place for truck drivers and other non-employees to wait.
  • Keep the floor dry. Rain, snow and ice all make loading docks slippery. Oil and grease from machinery is also a hazard. Use slip-resistant tape or floor coatings in critical areas.
  • Maintenance. Docks and approaches should be free from potholes in concrete or pavement. Dock bumpers must be in good condition or they won’t bump.


  • Check labels. Chemical containers should arrive with proper GHS labels. If they’re missing or need to be added, follow the company policies.
  • Use safe lifting techniques. Forklifts and other powered industrial trucks save wear and tear on workers. If lifting manually, use proper techniques. Make sure the loads you lift are secured and easy to grip.
  • Every worker is the eyes and ears of safety. At loading docks, where things constantly change, safety issues will pop up. When they do, share it with the safety manager.

That’s it for this episode on Loading Dock Safety. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at


See OHSA’s eTool on loading docks and powered industrial trucks.

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