Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lighting the way safely

Loading docks can be very hazardous places.  Working backstage at load-in or strike can be dangerous for a variety of reasons, and the risk shouldn't be ignored.  Loading areas are categorized as 'Material Handling Areas" and operations should be conducted in the context of a warehousing or factory environment.  OSHA has a large portion of their web site devoted to materials handling environments and it's worth a look.

Check out:

Hazards include:
  • Crushing (load shifts and fall on or against workers, being caught between moving vehicles and stationary objects, forklift tip-overs, dropped items [time for steel toed shoes!])
  • Falling (walking or driving off of an unguarded loading dock, falling from storage racks)
  • Poor visibility (trucks are full of equipment and you can't see other workers)
  • Heat exhaustion (or just plain being worn-out after a 20 hour day...)
  • Poor illumination (dock areas and trailer interiors not properly lit)
The folks at Rite-Hite ( have solutions for many of these issues.  Need a dock light and can't get funding?  Play the GREEN cards (not the imigrant worker card, the other GREEN ones - Energy Savings and Safety.

If you need more ammunition, go to OSHA 1926.56.  Also, take a look at Rite-Hite's LED flexible-arm Dock Light for loading areas:

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