The very nature of a loading dock is dangerous. It is typically a bustling hub of any warehouse, with trucks loading and unloading around the clock.
The constant flurry of activity and freight vehicles backing in and pulling out makes it one of the most dangerous locations in a warehouse.
Even though it is a vital part of the warehouse that operates at a fast pace, it is essential that it is properly maintained and operations occur safely.
Loading dock injury stats are alarmingly high. If you were injured at a loading dock, contact Mehta & McConnell. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.
Loading Dock Dangers & OSHA
Due to the uniquely dangerous nature of loading docks, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides safety protocols specific to loading dock and warehouse safety.
Many different injuries can occur at a loading dock. However, three very common loading dock dangers are:
- Forklifts running off the edge of the dock,
- Products or materials falling onto employees, and
- Equipment or trucks striking an employee.
Most loading dock injuries are preventable, and your employer must implement and maintain proper safety protocols.
OSHA has taken some of the guesswork out of preventing loading dock dangers by providing safety measures.
- Driving forklifts slowly while on and near the docks,
- Securing dock plates and checking to see that the plate can safely support the load,
- Keeping clear of the dock edges,
- Not operating forklifts in reverse near dock edges,
- Installing signs or other visual warnings near the edge,
- Prohibiting employees from jumping off the dock, and
- Ensuring dock ladders and steps meet the OSHA specifications.
If an employer is not following these guidelines, it could lead to a greater risk of a loading dock injury to an employee.
Additional Measure to Prevent Loading Dock Injuries
The risk of loss at a loading dock is high, but most injuries and accidents are preventable with these proper precautions.
Loading docks are often operated at all hours of the day and night. Proper dock lighting is key in preventing injuries, such as trips and falls.
Without proper lighting, it can be difficult for employees to see inside trailers to unload and load material safely.
Even if the warehouse operates only during the day, it can still be very dark inside the trailers. Adequate lighting is an inexpensive but crucial step in preventing loading dock injuries.
Employers are required to follow OSHA rules and guidelines for their employees.
Providing proper and thorough training to employees goes a long way in avoiding loading dock injuries.
Not only will training educate employees on warehouse safety, but it can teach employees about specific safety precautions when working with forklifts and other loading dock hazards.
Utilize Trailer Restraints
Trailer restraints are a particularly important component of loading dock safety. Trailer restraints lock a trailer in place to prevent it from moving while loading or offloading a trailer.
Even the slightest movement of the trailer can lead to serious injuries.
For instance, if the trailer separates even slightly from the dock, an employee may fall in between the trailer and the dock. This can result in broken bones, lacerations, or crush injuries.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured in a Loading Dock Accident?
First and foremost, you should seek medical care and contact 911 if the injury is severe and requires emergency attention.
Be sure to keep all records from your medical treatment. And even if you don’t think you’ve been injured after a fall, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional after any workplace accident.
Not all injuries are immediately evident, and having records will help you establish your case later.
Next, you should report your accident and injury to your employer as soon as possible. This often involves completing an injury report.
Finally, contact an experienced workplace injury attorney to discuss your rights after an injury.
North Carolina Loading Dock Injury Attorneys
If you were injured in a loading dock accident and believe your employer was not following OSHA guidelines or proper safety mechanisms, contact us to discuss your injury in depth.
We have extensive experience in warehouse, factory, and loading dock injury cases. You can also rest assured that at Mehta & McConnell, your case will never be passed off to a paralegal or assistant.
Here, you will receive personal one-on-one attention from an attorney. Fill out our online contact form or call us to schedule a consultation at a time convenient for you.