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Safety Guidelines for Forklift Usage in Loading Docks

What are safety guidelines for forklift usage in loading docks?

  1. Proper training
  2. Using the right equipment
  3. Loading and unloading preparations
  4. Keep track of loading dock hazards


Loading docks are filled with work hazards—especially for those who are new to using forklifts in the Philippines. Without any kind of safety guideline for your employees to follow, there’s a high chance that accidents will occur.

Many fatalities and a lot of injuries have happened due to a lack of proper training and safety precautions within the area of the loading dock. The sad fact is that these incidents are all fairly easy to avoid. A bit more discipline in the way people work and a conscious effort to instill safety precautions into the minds of employees are just two of the many measures you can do to prevent accidents.

For those who are only starting to work at loading docks, here are a few short safety guidelines to make sure that you and your coworkers are as safe as possible:


Proper Training

Proper Training

In order to prevent any kind of incident from happening, you have to make sure that you have all of the basics right. Start with the personnel who will work in the area. In the Philippines, forklift drivers should be licensed and disciplined if they so choose to work in a loading dock. This is because there are times when the area is crowded with both other personnel and cargo.

The real issues to keep in mind, however, is the point in which the forklifts have to go into the trucks to place items. The ramps that forklifts move on are always temporary and can be wobbly when not secured or placed correctly. Some trucks have their own ramps—some of which are relatively thin and unstable. With that in mind, every forklift driver should be very aware of their surroundings when working in loading docks.


Use the Right Equipment

The loading dock is meant for small material handling equipment in the Philippines. Excavators, mobile cranes, and other heavy equipment are more fit for large-scale construction. That being said, the type of forklift you use in a loading dock says a lot about how much you value workplace safety.

It’s highly recommended that you use sit-down units or pallet jacks to enter trucks. This provides the operator with more safety. Never use standup units for loading or unloading a truck, and keep them around 10 feet away from the loading dock to prevent unauthorized usage.


Loading or Unloading Preparations

Loading or Unloading Preparations

Incidents usually occur during when it’s time to either load or unload the cargo. Without proper preparation, accidents are more likely to occur. Below are a few things that you should take note of whenever the processes in the loading dock start.

Use Wheel Chocks

These are the most common and oldest form of constraint that is used to prevent trailer-dock separation. They are very cheap and easy to use. When placed properly, the movement of the forklift on and off the truck/trailer will be very stable. However, when the chock is not placed properly, the trailer can slowly creep.

Make Use of Glad-Hand Locks

When the air hose between the trailer and the tractor is disconnected, air is released from the trailer breaks locking the brakes automatically. Placing a glad-hand lock makes sure that the mechanical brakes are note released unintentionally. However, it can be easily forgotten and can lead to situations wherein tractors try to drag the trailers with locked brakes, but they’ll surely realize it quickly because of the increased resistance of the load.

Preventive Maintenance

The last thing you want to happen is for your forklifts to break down in the middle of work efforts. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, preventive maintenance should be practiced.

Keep in mind that preventive maintenance should always be done whenever you plan on using forklifts in the Philippines—regardless of what they will be used for.

This should also be done on all of the equipment in the loading dock to ensure that nothing is out of place and no malfunctions are blindsided.


Keep Track of Loading Dock Hazards

In order for you to prevent any kind of accident due to loading dock hazards, you should be aware of what these are. Listed below are 4 loading dock hazards that you must always keep in mind.

Vacant Loading Docks

A small number of incidents happen when lift trucks are being driven off a loading dock. Vacant docks can be a very serious safety risk, especially for a lone forklift carrying loads that can block their line of sight.

Open-Ramp Edges

Forklifts normally go up and down a ramp a few hundred times during the course of their shift. As time goes on, the operator might begin to stray to the sides—leading to them fall.

Slippery Surfaces

Moving in a slow manner doesn’t necessarily ensure that you’re completely protected from skidding on icy, oily, or wet dock surfaces. These can lead to hard to control forklifts and moveable dock boards, both of which can be dangerous to the work area.


Key Takeaway

Just as excavators in the Philippines are at home in the construction site, forklifts live in loading docks. Wherever it may be, however, there will always be a few working hazards that should be taken note of. When it comes to loading docks, there are a lot of safety precautions that should be followed. Common sense goes a long way, but following rules will let you continue working safely.

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