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Top tips for a safer loading bay

08 June 2023

THE LOADING bay is an essential component of the retail, distribution, and logistic industries, but despite its daily use, it poses significant dangers to workers, and the risks need careful management.

Indeed, over half a million workplace injuries and 120 deaths were reported during 2021/22, according to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with roughly a quarter of those injured (almost 62,000) having to take at least a week off work. Among the most common causes were falling, being struck by a vehicle or other moving object, or being crushed. 

Forklift-related incidents alone resulted in 1,300 workers being hospitalised, according to The British Council, with five people a day facing life-altering consequences. Despite loading bay equipment being traditionally thought of as low-tech, nowadays, investing in new technology is an important way to prevent incidents in and around the loading bay. 

Thorsten Mauritz, marketing manager (Europe) at Rite-Hite gives his top five tips on how to increase safety for workers at the loading bay through high-tech solutions: 

  1. Decrease the risk of communication breakdown with loading dock and trailer management software – New loading dock software enables workers to have a constant, real-time digital view of each dock position. This can replace radio conversation and internal paperwork, which is often confusing and can lead to human errors. 
  2. Enhance communication status at the loading bay with additional lighting – New ancillary lights that mimic the red/green lights system of control boxes have been developed to maintain line-of-sight communication regardless of obstructions in front of mounted lightboxes, helping to communicate restrain status to drivers. 
  3. Maintain supply chain integrity with a drive-through application solution – In this solution, a trailer’s door remains locked until it has backed into the dock and been secured. The trailer doors are open only when they are in the building, limiting exposure of the cargo to the outside elements and eliminating the safety hazard of workers going outside.
  4. Prevent pedestrian and equipment fall with new protective technologies – New advanced levellers can be equipped with safety lips that create a drive-off barrier when the leveller is in a stored position, preventing workers from falling from a dock door. Additionally, retractable barriers made from reinforced fabric can save workers and forklifts from falling off an open loading bay. 
  5. Decrease risk with loading dock control systems – New leading control systems can ensure that workers operate equipment in a safe sequence of operation, even when buttons are pushed in the wrong order. This prevents any accidents from happening, and when the trailer is ready to leave the facility, the order of operation is reversed. 

“Ensuring safety protocols are followed, and all safety equipment is kept in top working condition is a critical step facility need to implement in order to reduce the risk of incidents at the loading bay,” Thorsten says. 

“At Rite-Hite, our priority is to provide a wide range of solutions designed and proven to improve safety and security of all our clients.”

For more information on Rite-Hite products and solutions visit: https://info.ritehite.com/en/eu/loading-bay-safety-guide