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Dock Lock 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. For any company that loads and unloads trailers making the loading dock as safe as possible by securing the space between the building and trailer is of utmost importance.

One step toward keeping employees and cargo safe at the loading dock is keeping the trailer stationary during loading and unloading. Prior to 1980, the only option was wheel chocks. Unfortunately, wheel chocks come with a host of potential problems that can put your equipment and your employees at risk.

While they’re portable and may seem cost-efficient, wheel chocks often slip, get misplaced, are stolen or crushed, and are hindered by weather conditions. More importantly they require physical placement by employees – which means your people are putting themselves in harm’s way on the drive approach.

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.

Additionally, wheel chocks cannot protect against horizontal trailer creep which can lead to gaps between the trailer and building, ultimately resulting in falls from the loading dock – and possible fatalities.

With these risks in mind, let’s talk about a more reliable option that is now the industry standard…

Dock Lock vehicle restraints are designed to address industry challenges and regulatory compliance in trailer and loading dock design. Unlike wheel chocks, they help secure trailers to the dock, 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 improve employee safety and efficiency, but also increase security and reduce equipment and product damage.

Here are some of the benefits Rite-Hite Dok-Loks have over wheel chocks:

  • A communication system comes standard with most Dock Lock vehicle restraints. It features 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

  • The Shadow Hook model is designed to help secure the widest variety of trailers including intermodal shipping containers and trailers with RIG obstructions

  • They automatically re-fire if the hook does not properly engaged with the RIG

  • They provide  a physical and visual deterrent to cargo thieves

  • Dok-Lok controls can be integrated with your building’s security system

  • They provide all-weather reliability and durability

While it may not be possible to remove all hazards at the loading dock, it is possible to greatly reduce your exposure to risk and keep your employees safer by utilizing dock locks versus wheel chocks.

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