How Truck Restraints Can Prevent Loading Dock Accidents
Efficient loading dock procedures are vital for businesses that ship and receive large quantities of cargo on a daily basis. The need for timely shipping and receiving is essential as the pace of business continues to quicken. Because speed has become such an important factor for successful businesses, enhanced safety measures around loading dock areas must also be a priority. No facility should have to compromise on the safety of its employees in pursuit of efficient operations.
Around 25% of all industrial accidents occur around loading dock areas.¹ A 2014 study by the Ontario Ministry of Labour determined that common causes of loading dock injuries and deaths include workers being pinned between loading docks and trailers, pinned between forklifts on loading docks, or struck by a moving truck. These accidents are avoidable if facilities take the proper measures to ensure that trucks are properly fastened before loading or unloading. Truck restraints can partially prevent these loading dock accidents by allowing for a more secure connection between a truck and a dock leveller.
What are Truck Restraints?
Truck restraints are mechanisms that secure a truck or a trailer to a loading dock area to prevent it from moving or shifting in any way during loading or unloading, including unexpected departure. Quality truck restraints work by holding the truck’s rear-impact guard (RIC) or ICC bar. For additional safety, most models feature a communication system that uses lights as a way for the truck driver and loading dock operator to stay in contact. Other models are specifically designed to safely secure trailers with very low rear-impact guards. These models are especially useful now that certain trailer beds are designed to sit lower to the ground.
Truck Restraints Can Prevent Trailer Creep
Trailer creep is a term used for when a truck slowly moves away from the edge of a loading dock, leaving a dangerous gap. Workers can easily fall through this gap during operations and pin themselves between the dock and the trailer. Trailer creep is caused by the repetitive impact of forklifts or pallet jacks entering and exiting the trailer. It can happen gradually and often go unnoticed during the fast-paced, time-sensitive activity of handling a shipment.
Truck restraints are incredibly effective at eliminating the risk of trailer creep. Lenworth carries models like the Electric Hook Truck Restraint, which use an automatic rotating hook to secure the rear-impact guard, generating a restraining force of 32,000 lbs. This force completely stabilizes and immobilizes the truck to create a safe environment for all workers around the dock area.
Truck Restraints Reduce the Risk of Early Departure
Early departure is another all-too-common cause of accidents around the loading dock area. Often a result of miscommunication, it occurs when a truck driver unexpectedly drives away from the loading dock area before loading or unloading operations are complete. It can lead to potentially serious worker injuries, especially when other heavy equipment such as forklifts are involved.
Inferior truck-restraint methods, such as wheel chocks, are ineffective in these situations as they cannot restrain a truck when it is in motion. Because facilities cannot completely prevent human error, a truck restraint is the only reliable way to guard against early departures. The high-end restraining force counteracts the truck’s acceleration, keeping it firmly locked in place. Truck restraints also feature a two-way light-communication system that allows dock operators to properly signal drivers when loading or unloading procedures are complete. These added security measures are also very effective at preventing trailer theft, because the trailer remains fully restrained and fastened until the driver and the loading dock operator mutually signal each other.
Truck Restraints Can Prevent Trailers From Popping Up or Upending
Truck trailers can often pop-up or upend when they are forced to contend with the weight of a forklift. Pop-ups can occur when the weight of a forklift is concentrated at the back of a trailer, causing the nose to rise. Conversely, a trailer can upend when the weight of a forklift is concentrated at the front, causing the rear of the trailer to rise away from the loading dock.
Pop-ups and upendings can be incredibly dangerous for all workers involved, and especially for forklift operators. Electric hook truck restraints can guard against these types of accidents through the use of a rotating hook system. The rotating hook moves up and over the rear-impact guard, fully preventing the trailer from moving horizontally or vertically.
Truck Restraints Can Prevent Landing Gear Collapse
Landing gear collapse occurs in situations when a trailer is only supported by its landing gears while it’s being loaded or unloaded. It can easily happen when a trailer’s landing gears have been weakened by age, repeated use or unseen damage. Landing gear accidents are especially dangerous for forklift operators, as they are often inside the trailer when it collapses. Truck restraints can prevent accidents caused by trailer collapse through the use of the rotating hook, which firmly locks the trailer in place to prevent movement.
Truck Restraints Keep Your Facility Safe and Efficient
Loading docks are high-traffic areas that depend on safe working conditions for operational efficiency. Truck restraints can prevent loading dock accidents by keeping workers, facility equipment and cargo safe during loading and unloading procedures. The long-term logistical benefits of installing a truck restraint far outweigh the initial investment and certainly outweigh the financial and emotional burden associated with an employee accident or injury.
At Lenworth, we specialize in preventative maintenance. We are fully committed to helping your facility address its specific safety needs. That is why we offer free, no-hassle consultations to answer any questions, address potential problem areas, and to help you determine the truck restraint model that will work best for your facility.
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.
Request a free quote
At Lenworth our goal is to help you improve facility efficiency, reduce downtime and minimize risk. Contact us today for a free facility inspection.