May 2023

Loading Dock Accidents & Safety Tips To Prevent Them

A loading dock with orange safety cones and yellow barriers.

Workplace accidents that result in serious injuries often occur on loading docks. Unfortunately, loading dock accidents are becoming more common, according to a recent article in Safety + Health Magazine, which is published by the National Safety Council.

So why are loading dock accidents so common? What are the common causes of such accidents? And what can be done to prevent them? Below, you can find the answers to all these questions and more, including information on how a workers’ comp lawyer can help if you or a loved one has been injured in a demolition accident.

If you do get hurt in a loading dock accident in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, make sure you contact the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl. One of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can answer your questions and explain your legal options.

How common are loading dock accidents?

There’s a reason why loading dock accidents happen so often. So many items are loaded and unloaded on these docks across the country. Each year, businesses transport more than 18 billion tons of goods across the country, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. And each year, thousands of loading dock employees get hurt on the job.

In 2018, nearly 6,600 employees sustained an injury at work on a loading dock, ramp, or dock plate, according to workplace injury data compiled by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That number is the most loading dock injuries in a single year since the BLS started listing the source of specific workplace injuries and illnesses in 2011.

Why do loading dock accidents happen?

Loading dock accidents that result in serious injuries occur due to many of the following reasons:

  • Forklift hitting or running over loading dock workers.
  • Falling objects hitting employees, either from delivery trucks or shelves near loading docks.
  • Delivery trucks hitting workers.
  • Vehicle collisions at or near loading docks.
  • Employees slipping and falling on loading docks, often due to water, snow, or ice.

What are common loading dock injuries?

Common loading dock injuries include:

  • Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
  • Back injuries, especially lower back injuries, due to lifting heavy boxes.
  • Broken bones, including bones broken in the arms, hands, and feet.
  • Internal injuries, which are caused by workers getting crushed by large, heavy objects or by forklifts or delivery trucks.

What can be done to prevent loading dock accidents?

Health + Safety magazine interviewed several workplace safety experts, each of whom offered some of the following suggestions for preventing loading dock accidents:

  • Properly train loading dock workers on how to safely operate all equipment, including forklifts and machinery.
  • Inspect loading docks regularly to ensure everything’s safe, especially the machinery used to load or unload trucks.
  • Inspect all machinery used to load and unload merchandise on loading docks, including forklifts.
  • Make sure loading docks are level and stable before unloading anything onto them.
  • Improve the lighting on loading docks, which are often too dark and not well-lit.
  • Set speed limit signs near the loading dock to encourage drivers and forklift operators to drive slower.
  • Install guardrails near loading docks to protect loading dock workers for trucks and forklifts.
  • Create a designated area where truck drivers can wait so they are not accidentally hurt during the loading or unloading process.
  • Require loading dock workers to wear reflective clothing so drivers and other workers can see them.
  • Install reflective markings on loading docks, especially in high-traffic areas used by delivery trucks and forklifts.

Why should I hire a workers’ compensation attorney?

Loading dock injury claims should be straightforward, especially if the injured worker is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, many work accidents quickly turn into complicated legal cases due to various factors such as disputed liability, third-party involvement, or employer negligence.

It is crucial to seek legal guidance and representation to navigate through the complexities and ensure that your rights and entitlements are protected.

To learn more about your legal rights, talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl. We regularly handle workers’ compensation claims in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As a result, we thoroughly understand how the system actually works.

Demand the benefits you rightfully deserve. Contact our law firm and schedule a free consultation with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer you can count on when it matters most. We can answer your questions and explain your options.

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