The majority of semi-truck drivers are paid by the mile or number of delivered loads. When their truck is sitting on a dock waiting to be unloaded, the driver’s schedule and paycheck can be affected. To put pressure on the dock crew, the driver may stand on the dock or back of the truck. The driver may also offer to help by using the company’s forklift to unload the semi-truck; however, these actions create a dangerous environment.
To have a safe workplace, it is imperative that companies enforce rules regarding semi-trucks, drivers and unloading product.
Semi-Truck Driver Requirements:
- the driver to surrender truck keys to the dock office
- the trailer to be dropped for installation of a jack stand and wheel chocks
- glad-hand locks to disable the driver’s capability of releasing the trailer’s brake
- the driver to relocate to a waiting area
- dock lock systems with operator controls
Forklift Hazards on the Dock
These rules, processes and safety equipment are rooted in the reality that semi-truck drivers have been involved in forklift accidents. If the company hands paperwork to a driver, it may be assumed the trailer was unloaded and the driver may pull away from the dock prematurely. Unfortunately, this miscommunication can leave a forklift and its operator inside the trailer or in transition from dock plate to trailer. The result is a devastating accident.
Another hazard occurs when truck drivers remain near production. To ask a question, the driver may approach the forklift operator from behind while the trailer is being unloaded. Many near-miss accidents occur on the dock while other instances report truck drivers being struck by the forklift.
Control of truck drivers and their semi-truck while unloading trailers is very important. Communication, rules and enforcement can save all parties from a deadly forklift accident.
Do you have other questions related to forklifts and dock safety? Read more tips from ProLift or contact our Safety Specialist to discuss safety training options for your forklift operators!Contact Safety Specialist