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Forklift Drivers
01 Nov 2016
Delta Materials

Safety On The Loading Dock: Part 1

Good communication at the loading dock can help prevent many accidents. Forklift drivers need to be aware of what’s happening at all times as they move around the dock area, and in and out of trailers. But pedestrians also need to be cautious because they are often out of the forklift driver’s view.

Part 1: FOCUSING ON THE DOCK

The shipping/receiving/staging area is one of the most difficult places to operate a forklift. It typically only occupies around 20 percent of the facility, but that is where approximately 80 percent of the activity takes place. The job of servicing trailers is even more challenging when restricted vision is considered.

The vision issue is a twofold problem. First, a driver's ability to watch for pedestrians is impaired when the forklift moves into the trailer, where it is essentially operating inside a tunnel. The result is a dangerous blind spot that is only diminished when the forklift is fully backed out of the trailer. The problem is compounded with multiple dock positions because a pedestrian would then potentially be in the blind spot of multiple forklift drivers.

The other issue is the inability of pedestrians and other forklifts in the dock area to see a forklift operating inside a trailer, which is even more difficult when the trailer is approached from the side.

A wide range of operating conditions is another major factor. One example is when pedestrians and visitors enter the dock area without the forklift operator's knowledge. It's also not uncommon for pedestrians and visitors to step outside of zones designated for pedestrian travel. Other challenges range from difficulty hearing audible warning devices to the amount of stopping distance needed for a traveling forklift.

Source: InBound Logistics

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