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Improving dock safety reduces accidents, injuries

Loading and unloading semitrailers in manufacturing plants, distribution centers and warehouses is fast-paced work that can quickly lead to injuries. Loading docks, where the center of receiving and unloading takes place, can be one of the most dangerous places to work in a facility. This is due to both the arduous nature of the work and the machinery that is used to assist in the tasks. Taking safety measures can help prevent needless injuries from occurring.

Docks should always be kept dry, clean and in good repair. Research by the Bureau of Land Statistics has found that 25% of all workplace injuries occur due to slips and falls. Employees should wear non-slip work shoes, and the dock should be kept dry. Additionally, regular inspections should occur to look for uneven levelers, potholes and worn bumpers that could injure employees.

Employees also need to receive proper training in using powered industrial trucks that could cause injuries. These include lift trucks, forklifts and motorized power jacks. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than 100,000 injuries occur in the workplace each year due to these machines. Training in how to properly use these items can reduce injuries. Additionally, training in proper lifting and maneuvering can prevent injuries that may result in strained backs and muscles.

Employers have the responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe for the employees who work there. This includes keeping the loading dock clean and properly training employees. When an injury occurs when loading or unloading freight, the injured employee may be able to receive help for their medical expenses through workers' compensation. In North Carolina, employees who are injured on the job must file a workers' compensation claim rather than suing their employer for personal injuries. A lawyer may be able to help an employee who was injured receive financial help with their injuries.

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