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Trailer separation on loading docks, a serious hazard

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

Loading dock workers in California could be injured as a result of trailers pulling away from the dock. They can be struck by the trailer, fall in the gap created by the separation or even be struck by a forklift or loading materials. To prevent this serious hazard, employers should know its causes.

Main causes of trailer separation

One obvious cause of trailer separation tends to be driver error. Other times, the landing gear underneath a truck may fail, collapse and cause the truck to separate from the dock and even fall over. Excessive weight from forklifts can contribute to the incident, too. In some cases, the wheel chocks can cause the incident, especially if the surface is wet, icy or snowy.

Preventing trailer separation incidents

For greater loading dock safety, employers are expected to have high-quality landing gear and locking systems. They could consider using automatic restraints that connect to the trailer’s rear impact guard. For trailers that lack these guards, it’s good to utilize wheel-based restraints. Wheel chocks should never be the primary safety measure; as mentioned above, they work less effectively on slippery surfaces, and they can also be kicked aside or misplaced.

The level between the dock and the truck will not always be even, in which case employers should provide a dock plate. At the same time, this requires that additional attention be paid to safety as workers can become complacent around the plate and wind up tripping on it.

Next, using trailer jacks can prevent the trailer from upending when the forklifts enter. Forklift operators should all be licensed and trained. All equipment must be regularly inspected and maintained.

A lawyer to help you seek compensation

You may have been badly injured on a loading dock, even to the point of being unable to return to work at the same capacity as before. By going through the workers’ comp program, you can seek compensation for your medical expenses and for short- or long-term disability leave, but you may want a lawyer to assist with the filing of the claim and any appeals.