In a recent LinkedIn discussion, it was brought up should drivers carry their own chock, as part of their vehicle equipment? We all know that the loading dock can be a very hectic, loud and dangerous place! Forklifts and other power equipment are racing in and out of trailers, while other doors have trailers backing in or pulling away, as drivers, buyers, sales reps and others simultaneously navigate through the traffic. With all that activity do you really want to worry whether a driver brings his own chock or not? As the warehouse supervisor or manager you are responsible for safety on that dock. You control safety on that dock!
Safety on the dock is not a magical process that happens all on it’s own. It is something that needs to be planned out and your ever present vigilance all the time. There is nothing worse than filling out an accident report and escorting an employee to the emergency room.
Put simple and easy procedures together, then take the time to properly train your staff and then enforce them. Procedures should all be put into writing and gone over with your Human Resources department. You want their buy in on this and they’ll also help with getting other departments to take the warehouse seriously about the rules of the road.
Some areas to cover would be: No one, (except warehouse staff) is allowed on the dock floor unescorted. If someone needs to get to an area of the warehouse they have two choices. They either have a warehouse person escort them to the location they’ve requested or they take the training the other warehouse staff have had and sign off on the training. That’s it. Deliveries by appointment allows you to control the flow on the dock as well as your staffing and keep the clutter to a minimum. You should also have a contingency plan on how to handle and work in deliveries that show up unexpectedly. Have drivers check and/or sign in before backing into an assigned door. This gives you yet another tool to control the flow on the dock. You can spread deliveries out on the dock floor as long as you have the doors to do it. This is also a great opportunity to go over the rules of the road with the drivers and remind them to chock their tires. Do not let non company drivers use your power equipment, since you don’t know what their level of training or experience is. Before anyone enters a trailer to load or unload they must do a visual check, that chocks are in place, the engine is shut off and the condition of the trailer floor and contents before entering with any equipment.
Then make sure you add to your monthly walkabout checklist verifying that all the equipment is in place and fully operational including their emergency shut off switches. Nothing could ruin a day faster than the emergency cut off not working. Somethings on your checklist should Include the chocks, dock lights, dock plates and levelers, dock doors and any thing else that could enhance safety on the dock.
Let’s be honest, you will have jerks that will still pop into the warehouse when they shouldn’t or dart out and try to stop an employee from what they’re doing because they need creamer. Document those incidents and report them as safety violations to H.R. There will also be drivers who will tell you it’s never been that way before or doesn’t apply to me. They are easy to handle especially if they become repeat offenders. Don’t hesitate to call their dispatcher. Trust me they want their drivers working safe as much as you do. If it’s an LTL or long hall that your company has a contract with or does business on a regular basis, speak with the sales-rep on what’s going on. He’s also a great contact when you put your changes into place to alert all their drivers.
It may seem like work, but this is the Best way to make sure everyone goes home as they arrived, in one piece. Cause you know that when the guano hits the fan and the finger pointing starts, it’s too late.