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Five steps to improving loading dock safety

Texas residents who work in manufacturing plants or warehouses are probably aware that the loading dock is the center of the action. For this reason, many accidents can take place around the loading dock. Slips, trips and falls, which account for more than 25% of workplace injuries every year, are especially common. By following five easy tips, though, employers can improve loading dock safety and reduce injury risk.

To begin with, preventing slips, trips and falls is not so hard; employers simply need to ensure regular repairs and inspections for the loading dock. Worn bumpers, potholes and other noticeable damage should be addressed as soon as possible. Employees should be trained to sweep up debris and mop up spills. Signs and cones should be placed around spills.

Next, employers should provide training for powered industrial trucks like forklifts and motorized pallet jacks. OSHA requires this. Third, training should encompass loading and unloading procedures with special attention paid to the handling of flammable and combustible materials.

Adequate safety gear is essential. Footwear should be anti-skid and closed-toe. Workers should be given gloves, goggles, ear protection and safety vests that are high-visibility. Safety helmets may be necessary when freight is lifted high. Lastly, the trucks being unloaded should have chocks on the wheels. OSHA regulations exist for this, too.

Even when employers do not neglect workplace safety, though, they cannot prevent all accidents. Some may be caused by workers' own negligence. Victims can file for workers' compensation benefits so long as employers carry the insurance, and these benefits can pay for medical expenses and even any short- or long-term disability leave, but victims may still face opposition from their employer. This is why it might be wise to hire a lawyer. The lawyer may assist with any appeal that needs to be made.

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