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Loading Dock Safety: How to Avoid Accidents & Injuries

Loading dock in warehouse.

Loading docks at warehouses and other workplaces are some of the busiest job sites in the country. More than 18 billion tons of goods are transported each year across the country, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. And many of those goods pass through loading docks.

Not surprisingly, loading dock accidents that result in serious injuries often occur as well. And when they do, injured workers need all the help and support they can get, including workers’ compensation benefits.

Safety + Health Magazine recently offered a few tips on how to avoid a loading dock accident. But if you do get hurt at work in California, our workers’ compensation attorneys at McLaughlin & Sanchez can help you understand your options and navigate the legal process.

What is the most common cause of injury at a loading dock?

Each year, thousands of loading dock employees miss work due to serious injuries sustained on the job.

In 2018, nearly 6,600 employees nationwide missed work because of injuries and illnesses incurred on loading docks, dock plates, and ramps, according to workplace accident statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That figure is the most loading dock injuries since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started classifying the sources of injuries and illnesses in 2011.

Loading dock injuries occur for many different reasons, including:

  • Vehicle collisions on or near loading docks.
  • Back injuries due to lifting heavy objects.
  • Forklift accidents while unloading or loading trucks.
  • Slip and fall injury accidents, especially due to water, ice, and snow on loading docks.
  • Falling objects, especially large boxes falling from a height onto loading dock workers.

Loading dock safety tips

Health + Safety magazine, which is published by the National Safety Council, offered several safety tips to help prevent loading dock injuries, including:

  • Improving lighting on loading docks.
  • Installing reflective markings on loading docks.
  • Making sure truck trailers are level and secure before unloading.
  • Requiring truck drivers to wait in designated areas while the truck is unloaded so drivers don’t accidentally get hurt during the unloading process.
  • Making sure dock plates and levelers are stable and secure.
  • Requiring loading dock workers to wear bright, reflective clothing so other workers can see them.
  • Inspecting all loading dock equipment before use to ensure equipment is working properly.
  • Providing regular safety training to loading dock workers.
  • Posting clear and visible speed limits at loading docks.
  • Installing guardrails and safety gates near loading docks to protect loading dock workers from being hit by a truck or forklift.
  • Keeping workers away from forklifts whenever possible.

Contact an attorney who knows how to handle loading dock accidents.

Loading dock accidents often lead to severe injuries, and in such cases, it is crucial for injured workers to receive workers' compensation benefits promptly. These benefits cover medical expenses and provide replacement income if needed. However, navigating the process of obtaining these benefits can sometimes pose challenges.

At McLaughlin & Sanchez, our workers' compensation lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the state's workers' comp system. Over the years, we have assisted numerous workers across California in securing the benefits they deserve.

Discover how our law firm can help you. Contact us to schedule a free case review with a workers' compensation attorney who knows how to get results in California. We have office locations in San Diego, Chula Vista, and Temecula.

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