Common Dock Loading Hazards

The loading or unloading area of any company is susceptible to a range of potential accidents, but the most common loading dock hazards include:


Whether a vehicle is loaded/unloaded at ground level or using a raised loading dock, there will always be a variation in height and/or a horizontal gap from which an employee or a fork lift truck can fall.

–  Height variation between loading dock and ground level

– Height variation and horizontal gap between vehicle deck and loading dock

– Height variation between vehicle deck and ground level

Various bridging devices are available to reduce this risk, including dock levellers, scissor lift tables or yardramps.  Essential accessories such as gates and handrails also play their part in preventing loading dock falls.

Movement of Vehicles & Equipment

Movement of vehicles is another area that must be carefully controlled to avoid trapping or crushing operators, or prevent fork lifts falling off the back of trailers.

– Vehicles getting to the loading/unloading area

– Vehicles reversing onto dock

– Vehicle roll-away

– Vehicle creep

– Unintentional drive-offs

A range of preventative options is available, from wheel chocks to air hose locks to complex key removal protocols.


The elements can have an adverse effect on safety.

– Slippage caused by water ingress.

– health effects suffered by employees from extreme operating temperatures.

The strategic use of dock seals and shelters can help warehouse managers to meet many of their ‘duty of care’ requirements, as well as potentially reducing energy consumption in temperature controlled environments.


Companies invest time and money in establishing a successful business – only to incur significant costs when an accident inflicts damage on buildings, goods and equipment.

– Vehicle impacts with building.

– Degradation of stock from temperature variations.

– Goods falling from vehicle.

– Fork lifts falling from vehicles.

Items such as bumpers, alignment curbs and other devices will help minimise damage.