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How workers can keep safe from potential loading dock hazards

A Minnesota loading dock may not only be filled with cargo, equipment and semi-trailers but also many potential dangers. In fact, many workers are injured or killed annually in loading dock accidents. Some workers may incur spinal injuries or pain referred to as dock shock.

Employers who implement certain safety strategies at the workplace may help their workers avoid a variety of loading dock hazards. Along with the use of specific safety equipment and products, employers and supervisors could introduce a communication system that would help execute safety measures. For instance, green and red warning lights installed near dock entrances and in other pivotal areas may work to keep drivers and floor crews safe as they come and go.

Employers may further reduce loading dock hazards by purchasing equipment with built-in safety mechanisms such as automatic locking devices and interlocking parts that connect with other safety equipment. Certain model levelers are available that are made to reduce the jolts and shocks workers experience as they get on and off forklifts.

Moreover, certain products such as automotive restraints, dock shelters and barrier systems can reduce open door dangers. Four-sided, sealed dock shelters serve to protect the dock opening and cargo from incremental weather conditions while keeping debris and unauthorized people out. A dock shelter also alerts workers of truck activity, thus reducing confusion that can lead to accidents.

A safety checklist is one further safety measure. Whether done by an expert or a supervisor, assessing a loading dock's daily safety and operational procedures can make the difference in a safe working environment.

Under Minnesota State Law, an injured worker may exercise his or her right to file for workers' compensation benefits. Injured workers who confront any difficulties in the complex filing process might consider securing an attorney who specializes in workers' compensation claims.

Source: EHS Today, "Preventing Danger at the Loading Dock", Walt Swietlik, October 07, 2014

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