Loading and offloading activities are inevitable for any large facility, whether it is a retail outlet, plant, warehouse, or a grocer. A loading dock is a place where your company receives supplies and your products are shipped off to the customers. The increased activities at the dock and the various risks involved make it a dangerous environment for workers. Therefore, getting the necessary equipment not only reduces the risks but also protects the offloading team from danger leading to increased productivity and efficiency.
Most docks will have small doorways, improper bumper projections, excessive slopes, and gravel approaches making the loading process a little bit difficult. The loading dock equipment helps in speeding up traffic and minimizing the loading or offloading costs and risks. Some of the essential equipment in most docks includes:
• Wheel Chocks
They are wedge-shaped blocks placed in front of the rear wheel of a trailer to prevent it from moving away during loading. They protect the loading and unloading crew from any accidents that may occur if a trailer moves away from the dock leveler. OSHA requires the use of wheel chocks while loading or unloading a truck.
• Dock Levelers
They come in different forms including mechanical levelers, air powered, and hydraulic levelers. They fill the gap between the storage space and the trailer during the loading process. They improve the safety and efficiency of employees during the offloading process. The dock leveler should have the proper structural strength to handle the gross load weight and the frequency of use. You should also consider the speed of your lift trucks during the purchase of levelers.
• Dock Seals
Dock seals help in maintaining the cool air inside the storage facility and provide an effective barrier for improved dock safety and energy efficiency. The seals consist of a rubber canvas, which covers the gap between the dock and the trailer’s entrance, therefore, maintaining the normal environmental conditions in a dock.
Factors to Consider while Choosing Equipment for Loading Docks
The type of the loading dock equipment used varies depending on the needs of a business. The employees’ safety should be the number one factor to consider while purchasing the equipment. You should also have in mind the space that the dock occupies, the type of truck you will be using, and the weight of the loads. Check on the durability and reliability of equipment to ensure that they can withstand a lot of friction. Keeping the equipment in good condition is important, but you should make sure that the equipment has low maintenance costs before purchasing.
Getting the right equipment for your loading dock not only helps in maintaining the safety of the workers, but it also boosts their productivity. Therefore, business owners should consider doing a thorough research before purchasing an item. Other equipment that may improve the efficiency and safety on a dock include the dock board, dock bumpers, dock lifts, and dock shelters among others. The choice of one over the other depends on the safety it provides and the role that it completes in during loading. If you need additional resources, Wilcox Door Service Inc. may be able to offer you more information on their website.