Loading docks in big retail stores and warehouses can get very busy with trucks delivering and picking up goods, forklifts and other heavy machinery moving objects and boxes, and employees working in this same, often too-small, area. Employees are pressured to move quickly, and workplace injuries and deaths are common. For many of these workers, being off work with an injury can be especially devastating since they are paid little and must live paycheck to paycheck. Sadly, many of these injuries and deaths could be prevented if non-subscriber employers who have opted out of workers’ compensation—such as Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot—followed safety regulations and guidelines to stop them from happening.
Ten Safety Measures That Can Prevent Retail Dock Worker Injuries and Deaths
Employers need to understand the dangers at loading docks and implement safety measures to avoid workplace accidents there. Basic safety practices include:
- Training all employees in loading dock safety and ensuring that rules are enforced
- Using wheel chocks on all equipment in the loading dock to prevent them from accidentally rolling
- Requiring all truck and other machinery drivers to give right of way to pedestrians to protect the pedestrians in the loading dock
- Marking floors with yellow tape to identify walkway barriers, doorways, parking aisles, and overhead obstructions
- Installing padding or guard rails around sharp corners to prevent workers from being injured
- Inspecting pallets regularly and removing them when they become broken or if they are defective
- Installing guard cages around conveyor gears, sprockets, and rollers
- Securing loose items with shrink wrap so they do not fall through the overhead of lift trucks
- Keeping the loading dock floor free of debris
- Having only Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) certified and trained drivers operate forklifts and other heavy machinery
Employees working in big retail stores can suffer many serious injuries or death in loading dock accidents. However, they may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma from their non-subscriber employer.
If you were injured in a workplace accident with a non-subscriber employer, start an online chat to schedule a free consultation to learn what compensation you could be entitled to and how we can help you.