Saturday 22nd Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Increasing safety

The wide spread replacement of unreliable mechanical dock levellers with electrically controlled hydraulic devices.

The interlocking of all the equipment on the loading dock to reduce operator errors.

The introduction of wheel locks to prevent lorry trailers moving away from the loading dock before they should.

Unplanned trailer departure from the loading dock is one of the most common hazards. This can occur either because the trailer ‘creeps’ away from the dock as it is being loaded or unloaded, or because the driver drives off, thinking it is OK to do so. Another major risk to operators is becoming trapped by the lorry trailer. Lorries have even been known to crush warehouse operatives when reversing into loading bays. To prevent such occurrences, it is essential that a clear system of communication between lorry drivers and warehouse personnel exists. A traffic light system is an easy solution but it is by no means ‘foolproof’. A wheel restraint, which locks the trailer in place is far more effective and solves the problems of trailer ‘creep’ and unplanned vehicle departure. It is also necessary that forklift trucks and lorries are regularly maintained and checked prior to operation, to avoid trailer brake failure and related accidents.

Vacant loading docks create a dangerous drop-off for dock personnel and material handling equipment. Seven percent of the thousands of forklift accidents that occur every year are due to forklift trucks running off loading docks. A safety barrier is a simple to use safety solution. The barrier is manually positioned across loading dock openings and physically stops forklift trucks and pedestrians from falling off the docks.

The substantial risks of the loading bay continuously need addressing, to reduce the number of loading bay accidents. Dock personnel must be properly trained in the safe use of all loading equipment, and safe working systems must be put in place. The choice of the right loading bay equipment is also essential. Caljan Rite-Hite is the world’s leading supplier of loading dock equipment and safety accessories. Users of its products are able to pick the right solution for their needs, safe in the knowledge that all the Caljan Rite-Hite products meet or exceed the safety requirement. Caljan Rite-Hite products work together so that all the separate pieces can be interlocked to ensure they are used correctly and in the right sequence. Martin Wright, sales manager for Rite-Hite products says: “We get many enquiries about our Global Wheel-Lok, but these nearly always follow an unauthorised vehicle departure, which has resulted in either a near miss or an accident. We have the products that can prevent these incidents before they happen. I want to educate our potential customers on the benefits of using our products as part of their ongoing health and safety policies. Our new micro website is designed with that in mind.”

Other providers of equipment include;


Hörmann, who offer a complete range of modern dock equipment.

Uni-Dok, is recognised as the official UK Distributor for the world renowned range of Blue Giant loading bay equipment.

This extra security and safety means, for example, that a warehouse operator could not open the loading bay until a lorry was safely locked in place by the wheel restraint. There is now cost-effective technology available to warehouse operators that will reduce the high-level of accidents in the loading bay, and the costly repairs and legal problems that can result from these. Product design combined with operator training and we will see the loading bay become a less hazardous place.