6 Global Loading Dock Safety Regulations and Solutions

International regulatory bodies strictly monitor safety on and around loading dock areas, and facility managers need to stay compliant. Here is a list of our most important safety initiatives at the loading dock and the regulating body responsible.

6 Global Loading Dock Safety Regulations and Solutions

The loading dock is one of the most dangerous areas of any warehouse or manufacturing facility. While an active loading dock indicates a growing business, the risk of injuries increases as forklift traffic rises and more workers attempt to fulfill shipment orders.

International regulatory bodies strictly legislate safety on and around loading dock areas, and facility managers need to stay compliant. Employee safety and the company’s reputation is on the line.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178: Forklift operations (U.S.)

  • Regulation: OSHA legislates that dockboards or bridgeplates need to be secured before they are driven over by a forklift or other material handling equipment.
  • Solutions: Levelers serve as major upgrades to dockboards or bridgeplates. Not only are they affixed to the floor, but they can typically handle much greater weights as well.

FEM 11.003: Dock approaches (Europe)

  • Regulation: FEM 11.003 outlines significant hazards around loading dock areas, especially employees being trapped and/or injured from backing trucks on the ground level of dock approaches.
  • Solutions: Automatic vehicle restraints and real-time cameras mean that workers no longer have to enter loading bay grounds anymore. Yet, if they still choose to do so, a motion sensor-based audio and visual warning system can mitigate potential disaster.

FEM 11.004: Dock leveler loads (Europe)

  • Regulation: FEM 11.004 addresses load capacity of levelers. Facilities need to monitor the material handling equipment that uses the leveler (e.g. a forklift with soft rubber tires versus a pallet truck with small hard wheels).
  • Solutions: While manual pull-chain levelers still exist, most facilities have gone to air-powered or hydraulic versions, which are both safer and less physically taxing. Leading vertical levelers also offer constant-pressure push-button controls, which stop downward movement if the operator takes pressure off the button.

BSI BS EN 1398: Dock leveler safety (Europe)

  • Regulation: EN 1398 states that the control box of dock levelers should be equipped with an emergency shut-down feature, as well as a lockable main switch.
  • Solutions: Facility managers need to deploy levelers/dock controls that fit these requirements. Additional dock control hubs come with an interlock feature to ensure equipment is engaged in the proper sequence of operation.

FEM 11.005: Vehicle restraining devices (Europe)

  • Regulation: The FEM 11.005 standard looks at trailer separation accidents, as well as three classes of vehicle restraints:
    • Class 1: prevents trailers from rolling away
    • Class 2: prevents trailer creep
    • Class 3: prevents drive-away
  • Solutions: Proper vehicle restraints should be Class 3 rated – capable of preventing roll-aways, creeping and drive-away accidents. Innovative facilities are also using dock equipment that can be interlocked with a single control panel.

Chain of Responsibility (Australia)

  • Regulation: According to the National Transport Commission Heavy Vehicle National Law, there is a shared responsibility across the supply chain. A trio of roles: loading manager, loader, and packer, are responsible for dictating operations at loading docks.
  • Solutions: The use of equipment such as automatic vehicle restraints to secure trailers to a loading dock is a good first step for loading managers. Advanced vehicle restraints wrap around a trailer’s rear impact guard (RIG) and provide constant engagement with the back of the trailer to prevent potential trailer separation accidents.

Loading dock efficiency, safety and compliance are dependent on proper training, as well as deploying the right loading dock equipment – from a proper vehicle restraint and leveler, to safety devices that offer advanced protection for workers on the loading bay grounds.

This blog was developed from the Essential Guide: Safety Regulations. For additional information on these topics and a full list of sources, click here.

Essential Guide Safety Regulations

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