Dock Levellers sound more like something you would find on the quayside than in a building but in fact, they are an essential piece of kit in most distribution centres. Any business that relies on lorries to distribute stock from site to site will be familiar with its work and also how it facilitates the easy movement of forklifts in and out of lorries. Nice. However, dock levellers are not infallible and, when they do go wrong, they can be costly in terms of time, money and productivity.
Here’s what you can do to avoid the most common dock leveller and loading bay related problems.
This may be an obvious point but its importance can not be overlooked – hence why it is number one! If you are receiving regular deliveries, your dock leveller can see a lot of usages and, like any machine, needs maintenance from time to time to keep working efficiently. Whether hydraulic, electrical or manual, Stanair ensure that your leveller is expertly inspected, maintained and working as safely as possible. Our expert engineers will carry out a service that includes checking for any weakness or damage to the welding, making sure the safety devices function as they should as well as providing an early diagnosis of any potential issues. In this way, Stanair can help you to avoid costly emergency call out and repair charges if your leveller should suddenly fail.
Install Dock Buffers
These act similarly to bumpers on cars. Usually made of black rubber, these are attached to either side of the dock leveller. They afford some protection to both your building, vehicles and the leveller itself from damage from impacts and friction. You may have these installed on your building already but when did you last check their condition or their effectiveness? After all, they do not last forever – especially if your buffers are static. A good alternative which can extend the life of your buffers is choosing nylon buffers instead. These are not only more durable than their rubber cousins but they are also reduce snagging. Another option is choosing spring loaded dock bumpers. These clever and versatile bumpers actually move with the lorry trailer, absorb some of the impact and thus provide even more protection. Win win!
Installing a Dock Shelter
The great British weather can be a real issue for any warehouse. From freezing snow, to driving rain to high winds, your dock leveller (and your staff) would have been exposed to it all. This comes at a cost to not only your machinery suffering damage but the area itself potentially becoming a wet and slippery hazard. A dock shelter can be a good solution. A dock shelter basically protects your staff and stock from the elements whilst they load or unload goods. Not only that, but they also help you cut down on energy costs by minimising how much heat or cold is lost while the door is open. Much like dock levellers themselves, there are may different kinds of dock shelter. There are inflatable shelters, rigid shelters and retractable shelters. Which one is best for you very much depends upon your business type. If you are not sure, contact one of or friendly team to find out more at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Install Vehicle Restraints and Wheel Guides
Imagine the scene. A forklift is driving towards the trailer lip when the lorry suddenly pulls away. It does happen and, yes, it can be fatal. Every year, several hundred thousand forklift related injuries are reported and 7% of these are caused by the forklift driving off a loading dock. Obviously the safety of your workers always comes first and one way of ensuring this scenario does not happen in your workplace is to install vehicle restraints to your dock leveller. There are a variety of types but the most common are wheel locks, chocks or rig restraints. Wheel locks do what they say on the tin. They lock the wheels of the lorry in place – essentially working like a wheel clamp. The lorry cannot be moved until the lock is released. The rig restraint is usually attached to the underside of the dock and hooks directly onto the lorry itself. These can be either manual or automatic depending on your budget and need. Chocks can be embedded into the ground and stop the wheels from moving unless they have been retracted. Whichever system you choose, you can be sure that you will avoid unnecessary accidents. What could be better?
Wheel guides can be installed to enable lorries to dock in the exact middle of the dock and door opening. They can take a lot of punishment and are an effective way to help protect your building from accidental damage as well as helping to prevent lorries damaging each other.
Improve Communication by Using Traffic Lights
Oftentimes, accidents are caused through poor communication between the operator and driver. The driver may mistakenly think that they are free to go when actually it is critical they stay put. You can help avoid any misunderstanding by installing a traffic light system at your docking bays. These LED based lights consume little power but are effective in helping to prevent any accident or injury when loading or unloading goods.
Finally, as the famous saying goes, ‘safety isn’t expensive, it’s priceless’. Loading bays, lorries and dock levellers all have the potential to harm your business, your staff and your stock. At Stanair we believe that safety should always come first and, for that reason, a regular service agreement of your loading bays and dock levellers is a must.
Call one of our friendly team on 01536 482187 or drop us a line at email@example.com so we can arrange one of our experts to come on site and advise you on which options are best for you.