Loading docks of warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing plants are often a bustling with a high amount of activity. Because of this, loading docks are prime locations for slips and falls, as well as fires. To protect your workers from getting injured while working in the loading dock areas of your facility, here are a few important things to do. 

Keep concrete floors hazard free 

The flooring of loading docks is susceptible to hazardous situations that could easily result in slips and falls. Obviously, any debris, loose materials, and spills should be cleaned up as quickly as possible to prevent injuries. Additionally, one of the most common concerns of loading dock floors are that they are chronically damp, either from moisture getting in from exposure to weather elements or from condensation that can accumulate in high humidity. 

Often, concrete is extremely slippery when wet. Proper dock seals and shelters that overhang the dock door openings can help keep precipitation out of the dock area. Seals should be installed on the top, sides, corners, and bottom of each dock door. Condensation can be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether with the installation of appropriate fans, such as high volume, low speed fans. 

Train employees on proper use of equipment 

All employees who operate material handling equipment, such as dollies, forklifts and hand trucks, should be adequately trained to do so. They should also be trained on how to recognize safety concerns and what to do to mitigate any risks they can foresee, such as the proper procedures for cleaning leaked truck fluids from the flooring before continuing with their normal tasks. Employees should also be trained on the proper use of fire extinguishers and what to do when carbon monoxide monitors sound an alarm. 

Employees can only use material handling equipment properly when the materials they handle are free from defects. Include pallet safety checks in your training program by teaching your employees how to review pallets of materials before attempting to transport them with dollies, hand trucks, and forklifts. Any unsafe pallets should be rewrapped prior to handling them with the equipment. 

Conduct training on various aspects of safety on a regular basis. Keep logs of the training that each employee receives to ensure that everyone receives the training that is necessary to keep the workplace injury free and safe from fires. If your facility operates around the clock, train your employees in small groups so there is little-to-no disruption of the day-to-day activities in your already bustling loading docks. 

Inspect the safety equipment in loading docks regularly 

The safety equipment in loading docks should be inspected regularly, preferably at the beginning of each shift. This inspection should include all fire protection equipment, carbon monoxide detectors, lights, fans, barricades, and dock leveling equipment. It's also important to check the condition of dock seals daily as they are often prone to fire risks due to the high temperatures from trailer lamps. Damaged dock seals should be replaced before continuing to use the dock opening with a damaged seal. 

More thorough and professional inspection of fire and life safety systems should be conducted by your local fire marshal or a fire protection equipment company on a regular basis. The frequency of this inspection schedule would be determined by the fire marshal based on the types of materials being handled in your facility as well as the activity level your facility experiences. This may mean having an increase in scheduled inspections during particularly busy time periods, such as fulfilling orders during the rush of the gift-giving holiday season during the latter part of the year. For more information, visit websites like http://www.commercialhardwaregroup.com.