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Walking and Working Surfaces – Dockboard Safety

freight docks that will need dockboards with safety

The products that you and your fellow employees help to produce have a final step that we are responsible for: delivery. Getting our products to our customers may seem like a safe and simple step, but accidents can happen in any environment, especially with dockboards.

When moving cargo, employees often use dockboards. Dockboards come in a number of different varieties and may either be permanent components of a loading dock or be portable and utilized when needed. Regardless, both types require that employees be aware of how they work and how to make sure they are being used safely. Not using a dockboard safely can lead to serious accidents and severe injuries.

Dockboard Safety Requirements

There are a number of precautions to take in order to ensure safety when using dockboards:

  • Carefully inspect a dockboard for damage or defects prior to using it.
  • Position the dockboard so that it is centered on the truck or trailer.
  • Verify that a dockboard will be able to bear the weight of cargo, personnel, and any equipment being used, such as forklifts.
  • Never attempt to use a forklift to load cargo into a truck or trailer without a dockboard in place.
  • Ensure that the truck or trailer’s wheels are chocked or otherwise secured so that they cannot roll and displace the board.
  • When using a portable dockboard, make sure that they are anchored in place and cannot move, or that there is sufficient contact between the board and the surface such that it cannot be displaced from a safe position. To verify this, position the board as follows:
    • When bridging a smaller gap, make sure that the dockboard’s locking leg length is longer than the gap itself.
    • When bridging a large gap, the dockboard’s locking leg needs to be positioned against the rear of the truck or trailer while the span anchors the board against the edge of the loading dock.
  • Use a forklift to set and remove portable dockboards with lifting eyes. If the board does not have lifting eyes, be sure to use the proper lifting technique and request assistance if necessary. Attempting to move a dockboard by yourself can be dangerous.

If you have any questions or concerns about using dockboards safely, speak with your supervisor.

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