I recently came across an article on “safetyandhealthmagazine.com,” titled “OSHA loading dock requirements.” This article, written by Maree Mulvoy, discusses the critical balance between maintaining dock safety and productivity. Specifically, it addresses the type of barriers required for loading docks of specific heights.
Loading dock barriers are critical because “about 25 percent of all reported warehouse injuries occur on loading docks.” Injuries that stem from unsafe use of the loading dock can be serious, if not fatal, so OSHA has written specific guidelines to keep the dock safe. Currently, “every wall opening from which there is a drop of more than 4 feet shall be guarded by an actual fall protection barrier.” The article explains that loading docks of a lower height only require a visual barrier.
When choosing a visual barrier, it is explained that safety and efficiency must be considered. It is essential that visual barriers are brightly colored. Mulvoy argues that yellow should always be used because “it’s the international safety color indicating ‘warning.’” Since docks are often very busy, it is important that the visual barrier can be easily moved to allow for loading and replaced once the dock is clear. The article solves this problem by suggesting that the visual barrier can be attached with strong magnets since the doors on most docks have metal trim.
Regardless of how a warehouse chooses to install barriers, it is always necessary to follow OSHA guidelines. These standards are written with the workers’ safety and companies’ efficiency in mind. It is important to remember that following OSHA guidelines not only protect the workers from injury, but also the company from legal trouble. Also important is giving employees a way to speak-up when they witness or discover safety concerns. Utilization of a hotline for this purpose can detect and deter potentially hazardous situations before they become a bigger problem.