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Dock workers must take steps to look out for their own safety

If you work at a distribution center, manufacturing plant or warehouse, then you’re likely aware of how busy your facility’s loading dock is. Since truckers are often on a set schedule, dockworkers must use forklifts to move things around quickly so that they can send them on their way. Having to rush to get things done leaves dockworkers vulnerable to getting hurt.

One of the best ways employers can keep their workers safe is for them to encourage them to keep the dock dry, clean or in otherwise good repair. This will help them avoid slipping, tripping or falling, something that the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) says accounts for at least 25 percent of all workplace injuries.

Since 100,000 workers are injured while using them every year, all workers who operate a forklift should have training on how to properly use it. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also requires that all operators refresh their skills every three years or each time an incident occurs.

Another step that dock workers can take to avoid injuries is to make themselves more visible by wearing reflective vests. They should wear safety helmets, ear and eye protection, anti-skid shoes and gloves to reduce their risk of injuries as well.

Employers should equip their employees with handcarts and forklifts to pick up heavy loads. If they’re going to pick up things on their own, it’s important that they’re taught to do so by bending at their knees and attempting the lift with their legs instead of using their backs as this will help them avoid muscle strain.

While OSHA mandates that all truckers carry and use wheel chocks while their tractor-trailer is at the dock, many don’t. These are key to keeping a trailer from moving or load from shifting while workers are moving about it.

Aside from slip-and-fall incidents, dockworkers are vulnerable to being struck by suspended loads, crushed by trucks or forklifts and other types of catastrophic injuries. Employers and workers who are trained to abide by OSHA regulations end up getting hurt less than those who don’t. Since third parties often try to deny liability, it can be helpful to have a Dauphin workers’ compensation attorney representing you from the start.

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