Slips and falls are the leading cause of workplace injuries, and they cost employers billions of dollars each year. One area of the industrial workplace that is very prone to slips and falls is the loading dock area. There are many moving parts and heavy equipment that are used around the loading dock, and one small error can result in death. A large contributor to slips and falls is the slipperiness of the loading dock area which is from either precipitation or condensation. Here are 4 ways to reduce the slipperiness around the loading dock.
1. Overhead canopy
A loading dock canopy is positioned above the dock door and cantilevers out over the trailer. A typical canopy above a dock door extends between 4 and 5 feet over the trailer. Industrial property owners usually choose to purchase a long canopy that runs the entire length of the building to cover all of the dock doors, but it is an option to purchase separate canopies for the individual doors.
Where to find overhead canopies: Upside Innovations LLC
2. Dock door seals or shelters
Dock door seals are located all around the door as a guide for trucks docking at the facility and also to prevent outdoor elements from coming inside. When the trailer presses against the seal, it compresses and should create an air-tight seal. One way to check the seal, is to look for light from outside that may come in when a trailer is pressed against the seal. If there is light coming through, then there is not a good seal, and water is bound to get in.
Dock shelters are more enclosed than the seals; they are comprised of fabric curtains fitted with fiberglass stays that put pressure on the sides of the trailer. Shelters are more common than dock seals when the dock door openings are large and service a variety of trailer heights.
Dock seal and shelter pictured above are from RiteHite
3. Impactable doors
Damage to dock doors frequently occur due to the forklift or trailer bumping into them. If a non-impactable door is bumped and put of the track, then moisture is allowed in until the door is fixed – which may take a while. When an impactable door is bumped, it releases from the track but can be easily put back in place.
Impactable door pictured above is from Rice Equipment Co.
4. HVLS fan
Moisture develops inside the warehouse when the humid air from outside enters the facility and condenses on surfaces that are at or below the dew point temperature. When this happens on the floor, a phenomenon called the “sweating slab syndrome” occurs. High volume, low speed (HVLS) fans reduce moisture in the air by moving large volumes of air at low speeds which dissipates the moisture and makes the air drier.