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Five steps toward a safer loading dock

The loading of docks, whether they are exterior or enclosed, is the center of action in any warehouse or distribution center. Due to the constant loading and unloading and the presence of forklifts and other equipment, these areas raise several safety concerns that employers in Connecticut would do well to not ignore. By following the tips below, they may be able to reduce the number of loading dock accidents and injuries.

The first step is to provide forklift training. Only trained and competent individuals can operate these and other powered industrial trucks like lift trucks and pallet jacks. Employers can consider the various training courses offered by private companies or in community colleges and trade schools. This step may be the most important since powered industrial trucks contribute to some 100,000 injury cases each year.

The use of wheel chocks for trucks is important. In fact, OSHA has regulations regarding their use. Third, workers should be trained for loading and unloading, especially when the materials are flammable or combustible. They should lift with the legs, not the back.

To prevent slips, trips and falls, employers should enforce regular inspections of the loading dock and address hazards like potholes and worn bumpers. Lastly, anti-skid footwear is crucial as are safety vests, helmets, gloves and eye protection.

Employers cannot prevent all accidents, of course, and so a time may come when they have to deal with a workers' compensation claim from an injured employee. Victims may want to see an attorney who understands workers' compensation law before they move forward with a claim. Besides evaluating the case and assisting with the claim, a lawyer may mount an appeal in the event that the employer denies payment. Workers' comp benefits can cover medical expenses and part of the income that victims lost while recuperating.

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