Dock Locks vs. Wheel Chocks: Why Dok-Loks® Are the Smart, Easy Choice

The loading dock can be a dangerous place, no matter which side of the trailer you’re on. In fact, loading dock separation accidents lead to a significant number of injuries every single year. Considering there are 100,000 dock crossings per leveler each year, any company with loading dock activities should focus on making the loading dock as safe as possible by bridging the gap between the building and trailer. 

Risks with Simple Wheel Chocks 

One proactive step toward keeping employees and cargo safe at the loading dock is keeping the trailer stationary during loading and unloading. Prior to 1980, there were simple rubber or plastic wedges, commonly referred to as wheel chocks. Unfortunately, traditional wheel chocks come with a host of potential problems that can put your equipment and, more importantly, your employees at risk.

While they are portable and may seem cost-efficient, wheel chocks often slip, get misplaced, are stolen or crushed, and are hindered by weather conditions. They also require physical placement by employees – which means your people are putting themselves in harm’s way on the drive approach. And with a tractor trailer’s engine often over 70’ away, mixed with ambient noise and busy tasks, it’s no wonder semis are the second leading cause of backover fatalities in the United States. 

Another issue is the lack of communication between the truck driver, lift operator, and dock personnel regarding the loading status. This increases risk because there is nothing physically restraining the trailer, meaning a driver can easily pull away while the chocks are in place, putting material handlers at risk.

Additionally, dated wheel chocks cannot prevent or warn against horizontal trailer creep which can lead to gaps between the trailer and building, ultimately resulting in forklifts falling from the loading dock (7% of all reported forklift accidents involve a forklift running off the edge of the dock) – and possible fatalities.

With these risks in mind, it’s imperative to consider more productive and reliable options which should be industry standard

Smart Dok-Lok® Vehicle Restraints 

Dok-Lok vehicle restraints are designed to address industry challenges and regulatory compliance in trailer and loading dock design. Unlike traditional “simple” wheel chocks, they help secure trailers to the dock with light communication and the majority of them do not require employees to step out on the drive approach.

Rite-Hite’s Dok-Loks include features that not only help improve employee safety and efficiency, but also increase security and reduce equipment and product damage. For example:

  • Unlike many competitors, a light communication system comes standard with all Rite-Hite vehicle restraints, including Dok-Lok, Wheel-Loks™ and Global Wheel Chock systems. Dok-Lok can be optimized to feature a combination of components that use motion detection, line-of-sight notification, and audible alarms to provide hazard recognition and control to people on and off of forklifts, inside and outside at the loading dock 
  • There is a vehicle restraint for every application which means greater protection against trailer separation accidents. Whether you want a clean dock face, service lift gate trailers or need to stabilize trailer movement, Rite-Hite has a vehicle restraint.
  • The Shadow Hook Restraint is designed to help secure the widest variety of trailers including intermodal shipping containers and trailers with rear-impact guard (RIG) obstructions
  • Rotating Hook and Stabilizing Trailer Restraints automatically re-fire if the hook does not properly engaged with the RIG
  • They provide a physical and visual deterrent to help prevent cargo theft
  • Like other Rite-Hite products, the controls can be integrated with your building’s security system for optimal supply chain integrity. Controls have the ability to make equipment smart with Software Solutions. More than sensors and data, Smart Data & Analytics monitors vehicle restraints, capturing events and synchronizing vital information to facilitate data-driven behavioral and process change 
  • They provide all-weather reliability and durability

Help Reduce Risk and Improve Loading Dock Productivity

While it may not be possible to prevent all hazards at the loading dock, it is possible to greatly reduce your exposure to risk and keep your employees safer by utilizing a Dok-Lok versus simple wheel chocks without constant light communication. Rite-Hite has a solution for every dock, on every budget, anywhere in the world!

Learn More About Dok-Loks Today!

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