Loading Bays and The Transport Industry
According to research, it has been estimated that about 25% of all warehouse and factory accidents occur in loading bay areas, which makes it one of the most dangerous places in the transport industry. This isn’t surprising if you consider the volume of traffic, as well as the amount of various personnel who are required to work in the area.
Loading and unloading can be particularly dangerous for workers, forklifts, and pedestrians. Each year, injuries often occur in this environment because of the lack of precaution in loading bays, and awareness of the hazards involved.
Loading Bay Hazards and Safety Tips in the Transport Industry
– Trips and Slips
To prevent future accidents through tripping and slipping, make sure that you immediately clean the area whenever there is rain, snow, spills being tracked in. Also, make sure to place a slippery sign on the area if it was recently mopped or if there are usually water drops. Areas like loading bays should always be dry and clean.
– Hazard Zones
To promote visibility, you should consider painting the edges of the loading bays in bright black and yellow colors or at least have a lighting hazard for people’s awareness. Also, make sure to check that stairs and ladders are non-slippery and stable enough to use. Replace the ladder’s worn out parts if necessary.
In addition, make sure the exits are well marked, while the loading docks and inside the trucks are well lighted for visibility. Ensure that the dock plate is suited and designed to handle weight handling capacity, and never overload these places.
– Wheel Chocks
During loading and unloading of items, make sure that the truck’s wheels have chocks on to prevent it from moving. Designate an employee to regularly check the operation and maintenance of the vehicle’s wheel chocks. Aside from wheel chocks, always inform the drivers to set the truck’s emergency brake in case the wheel chocks’ slip off the wheels.
– Carbon Monoxide
The truck’s engine fumes usually create a good amount of carbon monoxide in the air, and these gasses can cause faintness, dizziness, and asphyxiation. This could affect the machine operators serious injuries. Therefore, all truck drivers should be reminded to turn off their engines when loading and unloading packages and pallets, etc.
– Back Injuries
Since manual lifting is common in loading bays, back injuries are often associated with this activity. It’s wise that ergonomic evaluation should be done, and the risk of injury to be determined when manually lifting items. If the risk is great on your workers, allow them to use one of the industry’s forklifts and other mechanical lifting machines.
In addition, you could also implement a stretching routine or teach your workers how to use a lifting machine. This would effectively help prevent injuries in the future and would make work much easier.
– Hazard Warning Lighting & Traffic Management Systems
The use of STOP / GO Traffic Lights is rapidly increasing in loading bays, as an indication to drivers for additional safety.
Hazard warning lighting and warning beacons are becoming a necessity in this environment, as they are proven to decrease the risk of injury by simply warning of a moving vehicle, occurring action, or any other hazard.
Working at loading is not exactly an easy job, and there are a lot of safety risks to be careful of. But either way, it would help keep your workers safe by implementing all safety measures like signages, warning signs in prone areas, and by limiting the pedestrian traffic in loading bays. Always direct the pedestrians away from the loading operations to avoid injuries.