Three Trailer Tools to Help Avoid Loading Dock Accidents

Posted On: December 23, 2013 in Vehicle Restraints

Busy loading docks can be a dangerous work environment for everyone involved in loading and unloading activities, whether forklift attendants, service technicians or just mere bystanders. Many accidents at loading docks are caused when trailers drift away from the dock, which can happen simply because of the movement of forklifts traveling in and out of them. To prevent this, there are multiple products designed to keep trailers firmly in place at loading doors. These trailer restraints can help to prevent serious injury.

Dock Restraints

Dock restraints provide the strongest protection against trailer movement. These restraints lock on to a trailer’s rear impact guard when the trailer backs into the dock. There are types that are manually controlled or power-driven, depending on budget and a building’s particular needs. Many of these systems also provide a communication system that tells warehouse staff when the system is engaged and when the trailer is safely secured. Vehicle restraint systems are a good choice for many warehouse applications but are not optimal for every case. Trailers with hydraulic lift gates might not be able to be secured with a standard vehicle restraint system because the trailer is not built to the right configuration.

Wheel Restraints

For situations when a dock restraint will not operate properly, such as with trucks that have lift gates, wheel restraints may provide an answer. These systems lock directly onto the wheel to prevent trailer movement. Basic wheel chocks are technically a type of wheel restraint, but hydraulic surface chocks or in-ground hydraulic chocks provide more protection. Some of these systems can work automatically, and many provide communication to drivers and dock workers that a trailer is secure.

Wheel Chocks

The simplest products for vehicle restraint are basic wheel chocks. They will help you meet OSHA requirements, but they can often fail to securely block the trailer wheels from rolling. If a driver attempts to pull away from a loading dock with a forklift still inside, for example, wheel chocks will not stop him.

Loading dock accidents can be prevented, and use of vehicle or wheel restraints can go a long way toward keeping everyone around your loading docks safe. Contact McKinley Equipment today to discuss these and other safety products for your loading dock area.