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Improving safety at loading docks

Louisiana employees who work at loading docks are no doubt familiar with the dangers that are associated with their job, especially during wet weather. U.S. employers lost more than $60 billion during 2013 due to nonfatal, disabling work-related injuries, many of which were caused by falls and slips on the same level, such as loading docks. There are some things that companies can do to reduce this risk.

During wet weather conditions, employers can improve loading dock safety by installing sealing products where there are gaps on the tops and sides of dock openings. As for the tops, weighted head curtains, overhead rain diversion devices or secondary overhead sealing products that use gravity and weight can greatly help make a tight connection with trailer tops. In regard to the sides of trailers at loading docks, employers could apply foam compression-type dock seals to keep out rain and other contaminants or use perimeter-sealing dock shelters. The solution for gaps caused by swing-open trailer doors is shelters that feature side curtains with fabric-covered hooks to block out rain, wind and snow.

It is also a good idea for employers to seal in existing gaps around the fourth side of the dock or those that are near the bumpers and dock leveler. Lip corner seals, filler pads, under-leveler pit seals and other components work to fill in troublesome gaps, such as those that form where the bumpers, leveler and dock enclosure meet.

Employers are responsible to ensure that their workplaces are free from hazards. Most employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage for the protection of their employees who are injured on the job. An attorney can often guide an injured worker through the process of preparing anf filing a claim for benefits.

Source: EHS Today, "Six Tips to Prevent Slips on the Loading Dock", Mary Blaser, Feb. 3, 2017

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