Whether you’re driving a new or used heavy-duty truck, spending time on a loading dock is part of your regular routine. But here’s the critical truth: loading docks are filled with safety hazards for commercial truck drivers. Here are 4 tips to stay safe any time you’re at a loading dock:
Watch Your Feet
Slips, trips, and falls can easily happen at the dock. Wet floors, oil spills, and uneven surfaces are just a few of the hazards that can trip you up. The folks at the dock can protect workers by cleaning up spills promptly, installing high-traction surfaces, marking hazardous areas clearly with tape or cones, and repairing uneven surfaces quickly. Any elevation changes need to be marked; bright paint or tape as well as chains, rails, and modular barriers can prevent folks from tumbling off steps or ledges.
As a driver, you can keep yourself safe by watching where you’re going. Don’t rush around; keep a steady pace and focus on your surroundings. Make sure you can see clearly and always wear good shoes with plenty of traction so your feet stay planted on solid ground regardless of the conditions.
Practice Ergonomic Lifting
Lifting and carrying heavy or bulky items is part and parcel of being a trucker; doing all that carefully and ergonomically is part of being a safe and healthy trucker. Back injuries are a big deal for truckers; an injured back can make it impossible to sit in a seat and steer a big rig for hours on end.
Always employ safe and ergonomic lifting techniques. If you don’t have to be the one to lift, don’t do it; allow the assistive lifting device to do the work whenever possible. Be vigilant about avoiding injury; one errant lift can stop you in your tracks very suddenly.
Never Goof Off
The loading dock should never be a place for goofing off or engaging in careless or reckless behavior. If the loading dock is your home base, loading times are understandably a time for connecting with and enjoying colleagues. But safety always needs to come first for everyone on the dock.
Turn Off Your Engine
Loading docks tend to be a bit confined; there’s a big rig in a narrow space that doesn’t always have great ventilation. Carbon monoxide fumes can easily accumulate in these conditions and make everyone very uncomfortable. Dock owners need to do all they can to ensure adequate ventilation in loading and loading areas. But drivers can make the biggest difference by turning off their engines. There’s no reason to keep your rig idling during loading or unloading. Switch the engine off so everyone can breathe clean air.
Stay safe out there!
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