Does your occupation require you to sometimes work on a dock of a busy warehouse in Iowa? If you do, you may have noticed how many workers nationwide have suffered severe injuries or lost their lives while working on or around forklifts. While these areas present multiple safety hazards, lift trucks might be the most dangerous of them all.
For that reason, you should avoid operating a forklift if you are not qualified to do so. Furthermore, always keep an eye out for these vehicles to avoid being knocked down or crushed against a wall or shelf. Attending frequent safety training sessions to ensure you stay alert and avoid on-the-job injuries around the loading dock can prove invaluable to your safety and well-being.
Numerous potential hazards
If you are aware of potential dangers, you can take precautions to prevent injuries. Look out for the following hazards and take note of how you can protect yourself:
- Use all necessary personal protective equipment — Imagine losing an eye or a hand because you failed to wear eye protection or gloves. Personal protective equipment can prevent such tragedies, and you should insist on your employer providing you with a hard hat, gloves, safety goggles, non-slip shoes, braces and support belts when necessary. Also, never work on a forklift without first securing the seat belt.
- Comply with dock safety regulations — Along with the mentioned hazards presented by forklifts, unsafe conditions can create further dangers in which forklifts can run over unmarked dock edges. Forklift operators cannot always see the edge of the dock, and when the forklift is too close, it can topple over. The operator can be ejected and land underneath the heavy machine. Barriers and signage must be clear, and equipment such as dock plates need to be properly secured.
- Learn how to protect your back — Your job in the loading dock may involve a lot of heavy lifting, and if you are not careful, you could develop joint and lower back injuries that could cause long-term health problems and chronic pain. Learn how to use your legs muscles rather than those in your back to lift objects, and ask for help when anything is too heavy to lift alone.
- Look out for slip and trip hazards — It is not uncommon for warehouse floors to become slippery and wet, particularly in the winter. Proper housekeeping can ensure that spills and wetness from snow and ice donâ€™t pose any danger to workers. Also, always try to be conscious of any debris or randomly placed objects that can cause slip-and-fall accidents.
Know what to do if you suffer an injury — Make sure you are familiar with the steps to take if you should experience a workplace injury. Report it to your supervisor as soon as possible, and seek any necessary medical care as soon as possible. After such unfortunate incidents, there are time limits for filing workers’ compensation benefits claims, and waiting too long may jeopardize your chances of receiving the maximum benefits to which you are entitled.