Loading and unloading semitruck trailers is a very dangerous task for anyone who is near the area. Often, heavy equipment helps workers to complete this task. It is imperative that any business dealing with this type of situation has a clear plan of action for handling the risks.
Without proper safety procedures and protocols in place, workers might become crushed by falling cargo, run over by a forklift or pinned against something. Instituting a few different policies can be beneficial in these cases. Here are some important points to consider if you work in loading and unloading zones:
Watch what is going on around you. There is never a safe time to take your eyes or attention off what is going on when there are trailers being loaded or unloaded. Not only do you need to know what’s going on in your zone, you also must remain aware of what’s happening near you.
Know where the danger zone is located. This will vary from one type of load to the next, so look at each one individually. Once you know the area, you can plan your escape route. There are times when you might even have to get beneath the trailer in order to remain safe if there is a problem nearby.
The primary hazards that each load has depends on the type of cargo being handled and how it is being moved. Tall loads might tip over. Heavy loads are a crushing hazard. Large or bulky items might not be stable. Forklifts and front loaders can tip over or drop the load.
The floors of semitruck trailers can be slippery when wet. All workers should use caution if they are having to walk into the trailer. Ideally, most loads should be handled from the ground. Icy or wet ground can also be hazardous for people and heavy equipment.
Always double check the trailer and any cargo that might roll to ensure that they are properly secured. Items that are rolling away freely can pin someone against other objects or roll over a person. Dock locks, chocks, a cradle and wedges are some of the items that can help to prevent rollaway events.
When workers are injured at a loading dock, the injuries are likely going to be severe. Medical care and missed work might also occur. In these cases, workers’ compensation coverage can help the injured worker.