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Safety is essential at the loading dock


Although loading and unloading a trailer is a routine task, it can still be dangerous. To protect themselves, drivers should always:

  • Set the parking brake,
  • Turn off the vehicle,
  • Put the keys in their pocket, and
  • Chock the wheels.

When exiting the vehicle and walking around the loading dock area (including steps and ramps), a driver must watch for hazards that could cause a slip or fall such as snow, ice, oil, or grease. Caution must be used when on platforms, scaffolds, or other elevated areas.

When opening the vehicle’s doors, the driver should watch for falling freight. Even a load that has only traveled a few miles can shift.

A driver should never spend more time than necessary in a trailer while loading or unloading. Carbon monoxide and other emissions from forklifts being used to load and unload can build up and become deadly.

Maintaining communication between the driver and others involved in the loading and unloading process is important. Everyone should use the same hand signals, light systems, and signs. A vehicle should never leave the dock until an “all clear” signal is given.