Chain of Responsibility at the Loading Dock
HVNL: Chain of Responsibility at the Loading Dock
Chain of Responsibility (CoR) has revolutionised supply chain safety in Australia.
As part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), CoR was amended 1 October 2018. It requires all organisations in Australia to prioritise safety across the supply chain. That means everyone can share the responsibility and liability.
Each point in the supply chain must have safety systems and controls in place to identify, assess and manage risks, according to CoR. These laws hold harsh penalties – fines starting at $300,000 and/or jail time – for any individual or facility that fails to comply.
In CoR, supply chain roles are broken into three main categories:
● Loading manager/loader/packer
Each role has its own set of responsibilities. For example, CoR specifies that loading managers are required to ensure loading and unloading activities are carried out efficiently and in a timely manner, preventing drivers from being unreasonably delayed. While the impetus is on efficiency, loading managers can’t forget about developing a comprehensive safety plan for the loading dock.
Secure Trailers with Vehicle Restraints
The first safety measure for any loading dock should be to secure the trailer to the facility. For many years, loading dock operations used wheel chocks. In order to use them, employees go outside and physically set wheel chocks on a trailer’s rear tires once positioned at the dock. This practice not only takes precious time, it creates dangerous risks. Facilities that continue to operate this way need to consider upgrading their equipment in response to CoR, because the fewer people outside the loading dock area with heavy vehicles and trailers maneuvering, the better.
Today’s automatic vehicle restraints secure trailers and trucks with the push of a button. Mounted to the facility below the loading dock opening, “rotating hook” vehicle restraints that wrap around a trailer’s rear impact guard (RIG) provide constant engagement with the back of the trailer to prevent potential trailer separation accidents. This can help prevent forklift accidents caused by early trailer departure, trailer tip-over, or trailer creep. Wheel-based restraints are also a valid option for securing the trailer. Both automatic and manual designs feature a safety barrier that engages with a heavy vehicle’s rear tire once in position to prevent separations and ensure an effective loading dock/vehicle connection.
Automatic vehicle restraints allow loading docks to operate more efficiently during the loading and unloading process, and provide a higher level of safety for employees.
Driver Communication at the Loading Dock
In response to Chain of Responsibility laws, DHL, an international logistics company, now requires load managers to “have communication systems for when drivers are on-site so they wait no more than 30 minutes for updates for when loading and unloading times are to commence.”
At the drive approach, given the ambient noise and the distance between a loading dock and the engine of a heavy vehicle, inattentive or distracted dock workers may not hear a vehicle backing toward them until it is too late. This puts drivers and employees in dangerous situations and needs to be addressed under CoR.
One safety solution incorporates external sensors that trigger audible and visual alarms that alert outside dock workers that activity in the drive approach has been detected. Similar systems, using red and green LED lights, indicate to workers inside the facility when it is safe to enter a trailer. They also shine a blue light on the leveller when motion is detected inside the trailer, warning pedestrians not to stand in front of the opening.
Planned Maintenance Programs Prevent Equipment Failures
Forklifts and trailers wear down loading dock equipment every day. Vehicle restraints, levellers, and dock doors take punishment every time a new shipment must be loaded or unloaded.
CoR tasks facilities with regular maintenance to ensure vehicles and equipment are road-worthy and safe. As responsibility is equally shared throughout the supply chain, equipment failure at a loading dock leading to injury, shipment delay, or heavy vehicle damage can lead to a hefty penalty. That’s where being proactive about maintenance becomes a company’s next line of defense.
Planned maintenance programs offer a regularly scheduled check for the critical equipment in a facility that get daily wear and use. Meant to be proactive, a trained technician can perform the needed maintenance as well as spot potential future problems. It also reduces the company’s exposure to costs associated with emergency repairs or worker’s compensation claims, not to mention CoR compliance failures.
Comply with Chain of Responsibility Requirements by Contacting Your Arbon Rep Today!