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Are truckers most at risk when they aren't even on the road?

If you're a trucker, you already know that the open road is a dangerous place to be. However, the biggest risk to your health and well-being might actually be when the truck is stopped to load or unload. This is what you need to know.

The loading dock can be a fatal area

Loading docks are a dangerous place for truckers -- precisely because they are busy hubs of activity with a lot of workers absorbed into their individual tasks. That makes them less likely to be aware of other people -- including where they are standing or what they are doing.

Safety experts have specific advice

Safety experts have loads of advice that can make the loading and unload process on the docks safer for everyone -- but management and employees have to be willing to work together to make sure that some common rules are followed:

  • Truckers need appropriate forklift training if they're expected to use it -- otherwise, they need to be barred from touching the machines altogether by company policy.
  • There should be clear "no pass" zones for workers that don't belong past a certain point in the docks or warehouses. That keeps people down to a minimum in the loading/unloading "danger zones."
  • Truckers need to be given the authority to halt loading/unloading if safety procedures are being violated.
  • Clear visual and vocal signals are needed to capture the attention of unnecessary personnel and remove as much foot traffic as possible from the danger zone before loading/unloading begins.
  • Safety equipment, including harnesses, wheel chocks and gap covers on loading docs need to be used.
  • Personal safety equipment, like neon vestments and hard hats, need to be mandatory wear on the docks during loading an unloading.

Employers need to take more control

Experts also suggest that employers ultimately need to take more control to prevent workplace injuries during loading and unloading procedures. They say that it's important to address issues like sloppy environments, clutter, a culture of bravado among employees and any disregard for mandatory safety regulations that are spotted.

Ultimately, if you're a trucker who gets hurt on the job, you're entitled to workers' compensation whether you were injured on the road or while still standing in the warehouse. If you're having trouble collecting, talk to an attorney today.

Source: Fatality Assessments and Control Evaluation, "Hazards to Truck Drivers and other Workers while Loading and Unloading Trucks and Trailers," accessed Oct. 18, 2017

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