The Material Transfer Zone (MTZ) is often one of the busiest areas of any facility with a loading dock installed. Because it acts as the bridge between the trailer and warehouse, the MTZ can also be a dangerous place where safety needs to be the number one consideration. With this in mind, productivity becomes a byproduct of safety.
Ten Recommendations for Designing the Perfect Loading Dock
- Dock safety is often not a consideration until after the fact, meaning after forklift roll-off or another major accident that results in building damage and / or employee injury. To ensure employee safety and product / building integrity, be proactive when designing your loading bay by anticipating all of the problems that could potentially occur.
- Keep security and safety in mind. When selecting a dock leveler for your facility, ensure it comes with a night lock and include a vehicle restraint to create a complete safety package. For maximum protection and efficiency, consider usinga Blue Genius™ Master Control Panel to operate your dock equipment in their proper sequence.Those powerful and multifunctional control panels can also operate dock lights, overhead doors, and inflatables.
- Make time for regular planned maintenance. Your dock levelers, restraints and overhead doors all have moving parts that handle dynamic stresses every day. They should be cleaned, lubricated, and checked by a technician to increase product life and productivity.
- Dock bumpers, lights, communication packages and other loading dock accessories should be subjected to planned maintenance programs as well. These products should also be inventoried two or three times a year as wheel chocks are often swept away in winter months by snow plows and lights will need replacement bulbs, etc.
- Inspect your dock seals and shelters on a regular basis to ensure they are in good working order.
- To protect your overhead doors and prevent accidental forklift roll-off, consider investing in a dock-lip barrier (DLB). They come standard with the Blue Giant Xtra Dock Safety (XDS) Series units or can be added on to any hydraulic or mechanical dock leveler.
- If you're planning to operate multiple pieces of dock equipment at the same loading bay, theBlue Genius™ Master Control Panel is anexcellent choice. Combining different control stations into one powerful unit saves time and money.
- Keeping employees and products dry is another fundamental safety rule. Consider header seals or rain shrouds to divert rain and melting snow or ice.
- If your mechanical dock equipment is not handling your load requirements, consider upgrading to a hydraulic package. Blue Giant offers a hydraulic conversion kit, which is a cost-effective solution for those not ready to replace their mechanical levelers.
- If you have a dock leveler that is over 15 years old, you may find that it no longer handles your load requirements. Utilizing your dated dock in over-capacity situations (heavier loads, larger trailers) can lead to product and equipment damage as well as increase the risk of employee injury. Instead of struggling with old equipment under potentially risky conditions, replace it as necessary to ensure optimum safety.