California warehouse loading dock workers know the risks of their job. However, it’s possible to avoid job-related injuries with the right precautions. Some injuries are common on loading docks, but they are preventable.
Why are warehouse loading docks often dangerous?
Many factors make warehouse loading docks dangerous places to work. Heavy vehicles and machinery are used. Workers are often distracted and overly focused on the task at hand, so they might not always be aware of potential dangers, which can easily lead them to sustain various work-related injuries.
Although loading docks are subject to specific safety regulations per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there may still be hazards in working areas.
What are the most common warehouse loading dock injuries?
Accidents on warehouse loading docks can cause injuries. Some of the most common involve slips and falls when workers walk on slippery floors. Falling off the end of the loading dock is also a common accident in this line of work.
Workers can also suffer injuries while using equipment. Accidents with forklifts are common on loading docks. It’s also possible to suffer from repetitive motion injuries from performing the same physical actions repeatedly. Workers are required to continuously push, pull, lift and reach for heavy materials, making carpal tunnel and tendonitis among the most common types of work-related injuries on the loading dock.
Items can also fall from a forklift and injure workers. In the worst-case scenario, a worker may be killed if he or she is struck or run over by a forklift.
How can these injuries be prevented?
Employers need to follow OSHA regulations but take further steps to keep workers safe. Floors should be cleaned up when possible or otherwise marked to alert workers. There must be stop signs posted to caution when danger is present on the dock.
Lighting should always be efficient. Safety barriers should be placed strategically to prevent potential accidents. Of course, all workers should be fully trained.