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Spotlight on Safety: The Loading Docks

dock boardsHere at Medlin Ramps, we specialize in, well…ramps - specifically, ramps for logistics solutions, such as those often used at loading yards and loading docks.

If you read our blog on a regular basis, you know that we are pretty fanatical about safety, because there is such a huge payoff for such a small amount of effort, it actually pays to be just a little crazy and obsessive about it.  Every worker – and every manager – should feel pride and happiness at the end of every workday, when everyone goes home happy, healthy and ready to come back to work the next day.  That's Medlin's philosophy, and it guides everything we do. 

However, we don't think our commitment to safety should end at selling you a high-quality piece of equipment engineered to the highest standards – we'll always do that, but we think that's just part of the process.  We also want to take a little time on our blog today to help you improve safety at the site where our products are part of your everyday operations.

To that end, here are some suggestions to help improve safety at the loading docks, where – maybe a bit surprisingly – what can seem like minor hazards can actually end up being fatal.  Let's get started:

  1. Your measures to prevent falls might not be stringent enough.  Loading docks aren't usually that high – a young person in good health probably wouldn't have a problem jumping down from one and landing on their feet without injury, for instance.  But falling off of them, or having a ramp collapse underneath you because it wasn't properly installed, can be fatal.  Make sure you have all of the following:
    • Measures to improve traction when using loading docks in bad weather, such as rain, ice, sleet or snow
    • Measures to keep workers a safe distance from the edge of the loading dock when not directly using it.
    • Measures to prevent tail swing
    • Curbed ramps and dock boards to keep lift trucks from sliding while operating
    • Measures to ensure the loading dock is always clear and clean, regardless of whether it's in use
    • Bright paint to make edges visible
  2. Entering trucks or railcars ups the safety ante.  Going back and forth between truck or railcar trailers is a major source of safety problems for folks working on the loading yards.  Here are some safety musts that need to be in place:
    • Wheel chocks and brakes set for all highway trucks, so they don't roll during loading or unloading.
    • Fixed jacks to support semitrailers so they don't upend
    • Positive protection to stop railroad cars from moving once dock boards and bridge plates are in position
    • Powered dock boards and ramps built to the highest specifications of quality and standards (we personally believe that hydraulic ramps are flawed from start to finish.)

There are many more safety precautions, of course, but these are some of the most important.  It's a triumph at the end of every workday when everyone goes home healthy and safe – and at Medlin Ramps, we're happy to be part of those important – though often overlooked – daily victories.

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