Loading Dock Safety Equipment

The following is a list of essential loading dock safety equipment.  It is by no means exhaustive but gives a flavour of how loading dock safety can be assured through the strategic application of equipment and accessories.

Bridging Devices

Yardramp – Fast, efficient and cost-effective, mobile yardramps are specifically designed for the loading and unloading of vehicles where a dedicated, raised loading dock area is not available. Thorworld manufactures a wide range of yardramps, available to buy or rent.

Dock Leveller – These are ideal for bridging the height difference between vehicle and loading dock. Dock levellers available from Thorworld range from automated Pit Mounted Electro Hydraulic Dock Levellers to hand operated Counter Balanced Drawbridge Dock Levellers, and manual Dock Plates / Boards.

Vehicle Immobilisers

Wheel Chocks – A low cost means of preventing vehicle roll-away while it is parked, and/or creep while it is being loaded and unloaded.

Trailer Safety Locks – An alternative to wheel locks, which are used to lock the air-hose of a trailer, preventing drive-offs.

Vehicle Wheel Lock – A device to lock the vehicle against the loading dock and prevent roll-away, creep and drive-offs.

Driver Key Protocols – The use of agreed procedures whereby the driver hands over keys, which are then locked into a control panel, can protect against misunderstandings by ensuring the keys are only returned when it is safe to move the vehicle.

Weather Protection

Inflatable Dock Seals – these are inflated once the vehicle is in position to create a tight seal before the dock door is opened.  By maintaining a consistent ambient temperature within the loading dock, inflatable dock seals are ideal for cold store applications where heat loss must be minimised.

Dock Shelters – Where refrigeration is not an issue, dock shelters provide ideal loading dock protection.  Thorworld provides two options: fixed and collapsible.

Damage Prevention

Alignment Curbs – These metal barriers guide vehicles into the loading area to prevent damage caused by incorrect positioning. They are fixed into a concrete base and painted bright yellow to provide an unambiguous signal to drivers.

Dock Bumpers – Durable, low-cost devices which act as a cushion to minimise impact damage.  The Thorworld range ranges from traditional rubber bumpers, to its patented Sliding Nylon Dock Bumpers, which are designed to be repositioned in four different orientations for an extended product life.

Essential Accessories

The simplest devices can often make the biggest difference.  Use these throughout your loading and unloading operation to ensure a robust safety protocol.

  • Gates
  • Handrails
  • Traffic Lights
  • Alarms


There is no better prevention than putting a robust interlocked system in place that integrates many or all of the above possibilities.  Interlocking uses sensors to ensure that processes can only happen when agreed protocols are completed, eg:

  • Wheel lock will not release until leveller is ‘parked’
  • Dock leveller will only operate when the door is open