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BeaconTechnology.com Tip: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that all lift-truck operators be properly trained in the use of their equipment, but the right equipment can also help reduce utility costs and on-the-job injuries – important in loading dock areas, where injuries are infrequent, but can be severe because of the weight of the materials being on- and off-loaded.
Dock barricades keep fork trucks from rolling and away from the edge. Maintenance-free rubber dock bumpers absorb the shock from trucks that accidentally ram into loading areas, protecting both cargo and trucks. Door seals keep rain and snow from getting into a building through dock doors, can reduce blow-in dust and insects and can help reduce theft from the dock areas (OSHA recommends these doors be chained or blocked off when not in use). Traffic dock lights give important directional signals, add visibility to enclosed work spaces and supplement lift-truck lights while trailers are being manually loaded or unloaded.
But it may be dock levelers that play the most important role in loading-dock safety. These span the space between dock and trailer and provide ramp for on- and off-loading, and are rated by weight capacity and height differential rates (the range above and below dock level at which the leveler can be safely used). Both mechanical and hydraulic dock levelers are available, the latter generally offering smoother transitions.
Lastly, protective gear, such as gloves and steel-toed boots, may add a few more degrees on a hot day – but if it prevents against even one severe injury, they're worth the discomfort.