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What You Don’t Know About Truck Restraints Can Hurt You

May 9

Written by:
5/9/2012 9:33 AM  RssIcon

About Nordock   |   Nordock Truck Restraint Solutions from American Door and Dock

What You Don't Know About Truck Restraints Can Hurt You

Got Truck Restraints?

Truck restraints can be vitally important to insuring the safety and efficiency of loading docks in the face of potentially dangerous and destructive accidents. Early driver departure and trailer creep are two leading causes of dock area mishaps. A driver who attempts to move his truck away from the dock too soon creates a hazardous situation for people, equipment, and materials.

Trailer creep can be even more dangerous. This is when the trailer slowly moves away from the dock due to the impact of continual forklift traffic between the dock and the truck bed. Trailer creep can create a gap which puts the forklift and driver at risk of crashing down into it. Truck restraints can help prevent potentially disruptive, destructive, and tragic occurrences by locking trailers into position at the loading dock. This makes the safety benefits and ROI of a truck restraint system worth considering.

It’s easy to lose site of the fact that a truck is a large and dangerous piece of equipment. Even with a proactive dock safety policy and practices in place you can’t always predict a driver’s actions. Chances are you don’t know who’s driving the trucks coming into and out of your docks, let alone details about their training, experience, or safety record.

The risks and unknowns inherent in dock area operations make it prudent to develop (or enhance) and implement a dock safety policy as well as related equipment improvements. Dock safety policies should be revisited periodically and updated to reflect operational changes, growth, and new & better ways of doing things. Truck restraints should be an integral part of any organized dock safety program.

Chock Talk: Minimum Safety

Chocks are wedges placed under truck wheels to prevent them from rolling. This is one of the most simple truck restraint methods, but not necessarily the most effective. Chocks can be used to secure trucks of all shapes and sizes. They’re typically positioned against the side of the wheel most likely to roll. Other factors that can affect chock placement are the incline at which a truck is parked, the gear the truck is left in, and the truck’s design. Chocks can be made from plastic, wood, rubber, or metal, and are often attached to a rope line so they can be quickly and safely pulled away from the truck.

While chocks may sound appealing for their simple concept, they offer only minimal protection against trailer movement. The use of chocks poses several significant risks and drawbacks.

     • Chocks are notorious for slipping on ice and snow, which can enable the trailer to creep away from the dock.

     • Chocks can’t relay signals to truck drivers and forklift operators for safety purposes. 

     • Chocks don't have enough restraining force to effectively diminish the risk of early driver departure.

     • Chocks are dependent on manual intervention and voluntary policy compliance to deploy and verify their effective use.

     • Chocks are often damaged, misplaced, stolen, or inadvertently driven away with the trucks.

If your operation has outgrown chocks or is seeking to enhance its safety program in general, then you may want to consider one of several modern truck restraint systems engineered for maximum safety and ROI. Every dock site has its own specific operational attributes and constraints. These factors are essential to determining what type of truck restraint system is feasible and which solution can help deliver the safest operating environment for each unique dock application.

Nice RIG: Enhanced Safety & Communication

If your organization has used chocks and is intent on taking its dock safety policy to the next level, consider evaluating more sophisticated truck restraint solutions engineered for your unique requirements. Rear impact guard (RIG) based truck restraints deliver substantial restraining force and safety for a variety of dock applications, as well as clear communication between truck drivers, forklift drivers, and safety equipment operators.

Manual RIG based truck restraints are activated with a push rod on the dock while electric and hydraulic restraints are activated with a push button control panel. RIG based restraints with a rotating hook can provide even greater protection since the hook can typically reach upward as necessary to secure a wide range of RIG shapes and sizes.

Enhanced safety through communication is one of the greatest benefits of modern RIG based truck restraint systems. These systems are designed to provide sight and sound signals to safely regulate loading, unloading, and driver actions. Alarms go off when a potentially hazardous condition exists or when restraints are disengaged prematurely. 

Reaping the Safety & ROI Benefits of Truck Restraints: Next Steps 

Look for areas of your dock operation where integrating truck restraints can improve safety and efficiency without a major equipment overhaul. Often integrating truck restraints can enable compliance with safety standards without replacing equipment. Engage an experienced dock solutions vendor who will actively consult with you on equipment replacement and upgrade scenarios based on your unique operational needs and the life expectancy of your current systems.  The safety & ROI benefits of truck restraint solution innovations in your operation can be realized for years to come.

  • CLICK HERE» to learn more about American Door and Dock’s Nordock Truck Restraint solutions.

 CLICK HERE» to view and download a PDF of this article.  

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Copyright ©2012 American Door and Dock

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