Top 10 Safety tips when designing the perfect Loading Dock.

The Material Transfer Zone (MTZ) is often one of the busiest areas of any facility housing a loading dock. Acting as the bridge between the trailer and warehouse, the MTZ is a dangerous place where safety needs to be the number one consideration. With this in mind, productivity becomes a byproduct of safety.

Below are the Top 10 rules from Michigan Commercial Door to help design the perfect loading dock:

1.) Dock Safety is often not a consideration until after the fact:? after forklift roll-off, or after a major accident of equal or greater damage has occurred. To ensure employee and product safety, be pro-active when designing your loading bay and consider all of the possible problems that could occur.

2.) Consider security. Selecting the right leveler for your facility is important, ensure it comes with a Night Lock and that you've included a Truck Vehicle Restraint which holds the trailer in place. These items, along with your Overhead Door, should be connected to a single master control panel which will sound an alarm should any of the aforementioned be breached.

3.) Make time for regularly planned maintenance as your levelers, restraints and doors all have moving parts that handle dynamic stresses every day. They should be cleaned, lubricated and checked by a technician to increase product life and productivity.

4.) Dock bumpers, lights, communication packages and other loading dock accessories need to be considered as well when looking at planned maintenance. These products should be inventoried two or three times a year as wheel chocks are often swept away in winter months by snow plows and lights need replacement bulbs, etc.

5.) Regularly check your dock seals and shelters to ensure they are not leaking - air that infiltrates the facility will lose you money in energy costs as well as cause discomfort for your employees.

6.) Protecting your investment is paramount in saving you money. Be sure to choose a dock leveler with a safety feature that prevents forklifts colliding with and damaging your overhead doors. With a Raised Safety Lip on the dock leveler acting as a protective barrier against this sort of damage, you will save thousands of dollars a year.

7.) Dock equipment control panels are an excellent choice when combining your dock and overhead door with other loading dock equipment. If you've combined a dock leveler with a restraint and an automatic door then the interconnection of each into one control panel is a very cost effective way of creating a safer work environment for your employees.

8.) Keeping employees and products dry is another important fundamental safety rule. Consider header seals to divert water damage that can enter your facility via melting snow or rain falling onto the dock leveler and trailer bed.

9.) If your dock equipment is not handling your load requirements or if you're experiencing dock leveler fatigue, consider upgrading to a hydraulic package. Michigan Commercial Door offers a perfect solution for those looking to upgrade from mechanical to a push button system with their hydraulic conversion kit. This is a cost effective solution for those not ready to replace their mechanical levelers.

10.) If you're sitting on a loading dock leveler that is 15-20 years old you may find it no longer handles your load requirements. Utilizing your dated dock in over-capacity situations (heavier loads, larger trailers) can lead to product and dock bay damage. Instead of struggling with old equipment under potentially risky conditions, replace equipment as necessary to ensure optimum safety.

If you would like assistance with loading dock design and product selection that will suit your facilities specific needs and loading requirements please contact Michigan Commercial Door at (800) 826 DOOR (3667)


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