Dockworker Safety: Beyond Forklift Training Part 2

forklift-151874_640If you’ve done your due diligence with safety awareness, you know that manufacturing accidents are not only common, but very costly and potentially life-threatening. For industrial facilities, a lot of hazards revolve around the loading dock, particularly when it comes to forklifts. However, while proper training is essential, the forklift driver himself is not always the greatest threat to safety. In part one, we went over how to prevent falls with proper guards, and accidents due to trailer separation. Here we will conclude with how to prevent two other very important kinds of accidents.

Heighten Pedestrian Safety

If you’re going to use forklifts, you’re going to pose a risk to pedestrians, plain and simple. No matter how careful and well-trained a forklift operator is, there will always be a risk here. 20% of forklift fatalities are due to a pedestrian being struck by a forklift. So if you’re using lift trucks, use the best safety features available.

When we talked about semi-trailer separation, we suggested light indicators to communicate whether the restraint is engaged. Lights can be used to improve safety in other ways, too. Motion-sensor safety systems can be installed inside the dock area. They can work in different ways, but one of these systems will project a warning light when it detects activity in the trailer, notifying people that a forklift could exit.

Motion sensors are utilized in numerous safety products today. On vehicle restraints, an external motion sensor can detect when a trailer begins backing in, setting off an audible and visual alarm.

Reduce Dock Shock

One in five forklift operators suffer neck and/or back injuries. The act of driving a forklift in itself can damage the body, namely from something known as dock shock. The bumps and gaps that an operator drives over when crossing a leveler creates a jarring whole body vibration that, over time, can be extremely damaging to the driver’s body. Fortunately, ergonomically-designed levelers can reduce dock shock by up to 50%.

Alternatively, you can minimize both ergonomic issues and pedestrian safety concerns by simply replacing forklifts when possible. If vertical movement isn’t necessary, a safer solution is a tug and cart system. This keeps visibility at 100%, eliminates the risk of crushing someone as well as most other dangers related to forklifts. Incidentally, a battery powered tug also improves productivity and reduces costs associated with forklift maintenance and upkeep. To learn more about making a safer, more productive environment for your loading dock, contact Load Mover Inc: 952-767-1720 or email