Whenever your business involves transporting products or services from one location to another, transport trucks are vital to your operation. With the pace of business continuing to increase, the safety of your workers is becoming more and more of a priority in the workplace today.
What are Truck Restraints?
Truck restraints, also often referred to as vehicle restraints, are mechanisms that secure a truck and/or trailer to a loading dock area to prevent it from moving, shifting or rolling away during the loading and unloading process.
Most restraints hold trucks into place by grabbing the rear-impact guard (RIG) or ICC bar, whereas other types of restraints engage the rear wheels only. As a method for improving safety and efficiency, the majority of truck restraints are also equipped with a light communication system that allow the truck driver to be in constant contact with the dock attendant.
What are Wheel Chocks & how do they differ?
Wheel chocks are the simplest form of truck restraints but not necessarily the most effective. Wheel chocks are essentially wedges that are positioned against the side of the wheel that is most likely to roll. The simplistic design of chocks comes with certain drawbacks, as they are not as effective in ice, rain or snow and do not offer enough restraining force to negate the risk of early departure.
How Truck Restraints Prevent Injury & Damage
1. Prevent Trailer Creep
Trailer creep is caused by the repetitive impact and momentum of forklifts entering and exiting the trailer, causing the trailer to slowly move away from the dock. This results in the trailer edging away until the leveler lip slips off the truck bed, opening up a dangerous gap between the trailer and the dock.
There are several factors that affect trailer creep, including the following:
– Weight and speed of the forklift
– The grade of the approach
– Softness of the suspension
– Whether the trailer has been dropped off or is still attached to the tractor
– Type of transition being used between the trailer and the dock (dock levelers or dock boards/plates)
For reliable protection against trailer creep, a manualvertical barrier restraint provides an effective solution. These units are less costly and can be mounted directly on concrete surfaces. Their simple design allows the dock attendant to operate the bar that controls the metal barrier, bringing the barrier into contact with the truck’s ICC Bar to stabilize and stop the truck from moving.
2. Reduce the Risk of Early Departure
Some of the most common causes of dock accidents involve the trailer leaving the dock unexpectedly as a result of driver error. In these situations, wheel chocks become a non-factor as they cannot restrain a truck in motion. Securing the trailer to the loading dock is the only way to restrain and prevent unscheduled and early departures.
A light communication system can be essential in this situation as it provides communication between the loading dock attendant and the truck driver. Since most cases of early departure are caused by miscommunication, this becomes instrumental in reducing the risk of truck drivers mistakenly driving away while the forklift operator is entering, leaving or still inside the trailer.
3. Prevent Landing Gear Collapse
Landing gear collapse occurs when weak or damaged landing gear gives way and the trailer pitches forward or falls to the side. Certain truck restraints such as automatic rotating hook restraints are more effective for this type of trailer separation.
4. Prevent Trailer Pop-up/Trailer Upending
Trailer pop-up occurs when the weight of forklift sends the rear of the trailer forward and down, potentially causing the nose to rise. Trailer upending is the opposite, when all the weight is concentrated at the front of the trailer and causing the rear end to move up and away from the dock. In both instances, using truck restraints such as an automatic rotating hook restraint can eliminate both of these potentially dangerous situations.
Minding the Details In Your Loading Dock Area is Essential
Loading dock safety should be a fundamental component of any business dependent on the transportation of goods. With the loading dock being such a high traffic area, installing truck restraints helps to ensure the efficient and safe transfer of workers and products, in and out of trailers. At Lenworth, we take extreme care in visiting and diagnosing facilities with the right solutions to solve each facility’s unique challenges.
As always, if your facility is in need of a truck restraint solution and/or communication system solution, contact Lenworth today and we can provide you with a solution for doing things the right way.
As the VP of Sales & Marketing, Spencer is an energetic and company-oriented manager that places an emphasis on continuous organizational improvement. Spencer's acute focus on building a customer-centric business drives his team to consistently go above and beyond customers' expectations. At Lenworth, Spencer places the customer as the focal point of all decisions.
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