A typical workday on most loading docks generally includes a number of semi-trucks, as well as numerous employees and equipment for handling all different types of materials that are being loaded and unloaded. Fatalities and injuries can and do happen on loading docks, making them a chaotic and sometimes dangerous workplace.
One of the main causes of loading dock accidents often turns out to be those big semis as they come and go all day long. Sometimes they pull away from the loading dock without warning, which could lead to injuries to workers. In addition, a condition known as trailer creep can occur when the additional weight of a lift truck creates movement in the trailer. One of the most common injuries to loading dock workers is generally suffered by forklift operators. It is known as dock-shock and occurs when the vibration from the forklift causes spinal injuries and back pain. Loading dock workers could also suffer injuries caused by trailer upending, trailer pop-up, or landing-gear-collapse.
Companies could cut down on loading dock injuries with a systematic safety strategy. This could include more safety checks, better protection on open docks and better methods of communication between workers and drivers. Several other safety methods could include trailer restraints, such as wheel-based restraints, industrial wheel chocks and restraint equipment that is automated.
On the loading dock, as in any other workplace, it is the company's responsibility to ensure that workers are kept safe at all times. Those who incur workplace injuries can suffer both physically and emotionally. They can often suffer financially as well when they are unable to work and cover the related medical expenses. An attorney could help any injured worker with filing a workers' compensation claim to help relieve some of the financial strain.