Safety Features Of Dock Lifts

Loading dock areas are some of the most hazardous parts of a facility. Workers and lift truck operators can suffer injuries due to ramps and inclines, dissimilar surfaces often wet or slippery, trailer creep, and other hazards.

To help reduce these risks, select a dock lift that offers safety features such as bow stops and motor stops. Dock Lifts Charleston SC full-length guide-ons help ensure a boat is properly positioned front to back and side to side.

dock lift

Safety Features

Loading dock lifts are a great way to enhance loading dock efficiency. They can help increase productivity and reduce back injuries that often occur at the loading dock due to repetitive movement or sudden movements of heavy equipment and materials. Effective dock lifts help minimize the onset of these injuries by decreasing whole-body vibration. Additionally, they create a smooth transition between the dock and trailer allowing workers on forklifts to pass between them with minimal effort and discomfort.

To further ensure safety, it’s crucial to choose a lifting system with various built-in features. These include safety legs and dock ramp stops, hydraulic failsafe protection, full-range toe guards, and dock impact barriers.

Dock ramp stops protect the ramp from lowering too low and potentially trapping a vehicle or employee. They can be mechanical or hydraulic. Mechanical dock ramp stops feature a push-button control to stop the cylinder at any time. Hydraulic dock ramp stops feature a velocity fuse to prevent accidental lowering and an emergency ramp stop for immediate and manual intervention.

Guard rails are also a useful safety tool, as they can keep employees and forklifts away from areas where they aren’t supposed to be. They’re especially beneficial in areas with high-rise facilities or where there is limited space between structures. Bollards are another type of safety device that serves the same purpose, but they’re more commonly found in warehouse environments and can be placed around machinery or at building corners to protect them from accidental impacts by forklifts.

When it comes to loading dock accidents, forklift roll-offs are among the most devastating. They can easily happen when a truck pulls away from the dock (whether it’s due to trailer creep or if the driver isn’t paying attention). These incidents are often fatal, which is why it’s crucial to install a wheel chock on your truck and use one every time you enter the dock area.

Properly storing dock lifts will also help prevent trailers from moving away from the edge of the dock or opening the dock door and creating a gap that workers or forklifts can fall through. In addition to ensuring proper storage, employers should develop traffic control plans and train all employees who work in dock areas to understand them.


Guardrails on a dock lift provide a physical barrier and visual warning for all personnel. They protect expensive equipment, define traffic patterns, and shield key work areas from forklift traffic. They’re a powerful safety measure and help facility managers establish consistent behavioral expectations for staff around the loading dock area. Wildeck’s Wilgard(r) guard rail system is the industry’s best and has been tested to withstand severe impact from forklifts and other vehicles. This guardrail system is easy to install, add on to, or remove and features a 42″ double guard rail that meets OSHA guidelines for fall protection. It’s also painted a highly visible bright safety yellow.

For a more permanent, yet convenient solution, consider the option of pocket-style guardrails on your dock lift. These are easily removed by hand tools and don’t require any cutting of the steel guardrails. For example, if you have a truck that backs over your dock lift to a conventional trailer you can use the dock leveler and then pull the pocket-style guardrails up and away. When the truck departs you can quickly and easily put them back in place.

If you want additional personal safety on your dock lift beyond that required by OSHA, consider an advanced electric toe guard. This is an electrically operated toe guard that stops the downward movement of a platform when it is struck. The platform can then be raised to the proper dock height using a simple push of a button.

Other safety options for a dock lift include the addition of an axle rating capacity that identifies the maximum vehicle axle weight allowed to drive over a fully lowered dock lift. Most recessed units have this feature built in and it’s also an option on some surface mount dock lifts.

Wheel Chocks

One of the most common lower-tech safety features on dock lifts is wheel chocks. These wedge-shaped blocks help prevent trailer creep while a lift truck is loading it, which can cause gaps between the trailer and the building or even forklifts to fall off of the dock (7% of all reported forklift accidents involve trailers).

While OSHA regulates the use of wheel chocks at every loading dock where trucks load and unload, most facilities don’t take full advantage of this simple yet important safety measure. This is often due to time constraints and communication breakdowns between truck drivers, lift operators, and dock workers that lead to early truck pull-aways and trailer departures before the trailer is fully loaded.

If you’re looking for a more efficient and effective alternative to manual surface wheel chocks, consider this innovative restraint that uses an interlock-capable control panel, standard LED communication lights, exterior audible alarms, and safe engagement sensors to communicate with the vehicle driver. Unlike traditional wheel chocks that require physical placement by employees, it has an automated arm that engages near the axle height to ensure better capture and can restrain up to 32,000 pounds of force.

In addition, its patented design makes it easier to install by simply placing it on the ground and putting the vehicle in park. Once it’s in place, the lift system automatically engages to secure the trailer to the dock without the need for employee intervention. This can greatly reduce the risk of accidental trailer drift and unauthorized departures during transshipment that put both employees and cargo at risk.

It is also ideal for warehouses and distribution centers that need to secure a variety of different types of trailers, including pup and lift gate trailers that have damaged rear impact guards or different axle configurations. With the ability to be manually or hydraulically operated, this high-performance restraint can keep virtually any trailer parked safely at your dock, whether you’re working in a manufacturing, distribution, food service, or retail environment. Contact a product specialist to learn more about this versatile wheel chocking solution and how it can make your warehouse dock safer.

Barrier Lips

Many dock lifts are equipped with a barrier lip to prevent a fork truck from accidentally rolling off the lift in the down position. The lip is usually mounted at the front of the deck and extends over the edge of the dock. It is supported by a series of hinge support plates 42 that pivot on the lip hinge pin 31. A spring 76 acts to assist in raising the barrier. The spring also provides some resilience to allow the lip to rotate rearward when it is pushed outward by the lip keepers to clear it in the down position.

Several methods are known in the art for providing a run-off prevention barrier at the lip of a dock leveler in both its storage and pendant positions. The simplest involves simply extending the rear edge of the folding lip to raise it when it is in its stored position. However, this design limits access to a transport trailer when the dock lift is in its below dock end loading position and requires that the barrier be lowered before the trailer can be accessed.

The present invention addresses this limitation by providing a mechanism for automatically elevating the lip to an operative position when the deck is restored to its dock-level position. The mechanism includes a push rod assembly 60 that pivots on a pin 61 carried by the frame assembly 10. A first cam lobe 54 protrudes from the front of the crank 50 and controls the position of a second cam lobe 55. A latch arm 70 rides on the cam and is contacted by a control arm assembly 65 that is responsive to the movement of the deck. The control arm assembly 65 holds the latch arm 70 raised out of engagement with the cam assembly.

The latch arm is pushed down by the pressure of the spring when the deck is lowered. When the deck is in its operative position with the barrier extended over the transport trailer the push rod assembly is deflected by the second cam lobe to force the latch arm 70 down and engage the slot in the cam assembly 50. The control arm assembly is then free to move the push rod up and down to actuate the barrier.

The Importance of Proper Dock Repair

Docks withstand a lot of wear and tear, and it is important to keep up with routine maintenance and repairs. Watch out for rotting, rust, cracks, creosote, and wobbling or creaking sounds that can indicate a serious structural problem.

Dock Repair

Keeping up with these little issues will extend the life of your dock, saving you money in repair and replacement costs over time. Click Here to learn more.

Warped deck boards are a common issue and can occur due to several reasons. Depending on the severity of the problem, it may be necessary to seek professional assistance for a comprehensive solution. Often, it is not just one board that has become warped but rather the entire deck. This may indicate that the underlying structure has become unstable due to frost heave, soil erosion, or excessively wet conditions.

Wood is a natural material that naturally adjusts to changes in the moisture content of the air. This causes it to expand and shrink in an attempt to reach a balance with its environment. If not properly installed or fastened, this can cause the wood to buckle and bow. Wood that has a tendency to warp includes cedar, redwood and composite lumber. Using wood with a straight grain pattern helps prevent warping.

Deck boards can also become warped due to improper care or cleaning. Using harsh chemicals on the boards can damage the surface and leave it vulnerable to rotting. Termites, carpenter ants and woodpeckers are also known to attack rotting wood and can damage it further. This damage can create a hole through which water can enter and cause further problems with the deck.

Having the proper tools can help you fix your warped deck boards. First, you must identify which portion of your deck needs to be repaired. Once you know this, you can obtain an accurate measurement of the decking to be replaced. Next, you can cut the decking with a circular saw, taking into account its depth. Be sure to wear protective equipment when working with a saw and follow any safety regulations.

Once you have removed the old decking, it is important to replace it with new board sections that are the same in length, colour and material. You should also ensure that the new decking is properly screwed down to the joists. Once the new decking is in place, it can be sealed to protect it from weather and sun damage.

It is possible to repair a single warped deck board, although it is not as cost effective as replacing the whole section of the decking. It is recommended that you contact a professional installer to assess the overall condition of your decking and recommend a solution.


No matter how beautiful and sturdy your dock was when built, it will eventually need some attention. A floating dock’s constant contact with water makes it prone to damage from boats, waves, and wind. Even treated wood, if exposed to saltwater, will begin to degrade over time. If this happens, it’s important to call a local dock builder or waterfront company to take a look at the damage and determine whether repair or replacement is needed.

A common problem that a professional will notice is rust, either small spots or widespread corrosion on the steel or aluminum that is used for boat dock construction. While a little bit of rust might be easy to patch up, extensive corrosion can compromise the structural integrity of your dock and is therefore a warning sign that it’s time for replacement or major repairs.

Some rust spots can be repaired with simple body filler, but widespread rust will likely require a more in-depth treatment. A professional will typically use a more aggressive chemical solution to remove the existing rust and then spray on a coating of epoxy or other protective chemical. This coating will protect the metal from future damage and ensure that the rust doesn’t spread.

Loose boards on your dock deck might not be a big structural concern, but you don’t want to trip or fall over them either. Similarly, if you see any gaps between dock sections that make it difficult or impossible to walk from one side to the other, this might be an indication of a bigger problem, such as rotting or loose screws.

Another sign that it’s time for a dock repair is the sound of rattling, creaking or grinding noises. Often these are due to loose screws, rotting boards or a combination of the two. While these problems might not be a huge deal right now, they could cause bigger issues down the road, so it’s always best to be proactive and call in a local dock builder to assess the situation. They can also give you a quote for repairing or replacing your dock.

Wood Rot

Wood rot is caused by fungi that break down the parts of the wood that make it strong and stiff. This makes the wood soft and brittle and weakens it. It can destroy a house and the structures within it. If the rotting is severe it can also be a fire hazard.

If you suspect your home may be affected by rot, the best course of action is to have a professional survey carried out. This will identify the type of fungi and how serious the problem is. It will then recommend a course of treatment.

The first step is to eliminate the source of the dampness that’s enabling the fungi to thrive. This will require a complete survey of the property to ensure that all areas are dry and any defects are repaired. This could include a blocked gutter, damaged roof covering or an inadequate damp proof course (DPC). It’s essential that the surveyor identifies all sources of moisture to be sure the rot is stopped dead in its tracks.

Once the source of moisture has been eliminated, the timbers that have been affected can be treated. This will include removing any spores and hyphae, cutting back the infected timber to at least 500mm beyond the last signs of infection and sterilising all affected areas. This can be a daunting job for a homeowner, but is vital to ensuring the safety and security of the building.

In most cases, rot in wood is a result of poor maintenance rather than design flaws. Missing a painting cycle, failing to clean gutters or failing to caulk around windows and doors can allow water to seep in, waking up decay organisms that can turn wood into a mushy mess.

If the rot is limited to just one area of timber, it may be possible to repair it using a wood filler. However, if the damage is extensive and the fungus has already spread to other areas of the frame, the whole area will need replacing. If attempting to repair the rot yourself, it’s a good idea to start with a small section of timber and work your way up to more damaged areas as you gain confidence and experience. It’s also important to follow the materials instructions closely when applying filler and wood hardeners.


It’s important to catch dock damage early before it becomes a bigger problem. Whether it’s a crack in the foundation or a section of the dock that sinks, you need to address these issues right away. This is especially true if the cracks are in load-bearing areas of the structure. These problems can lead to significant and expensive structural repairs. Depending on the severity of the damage, it may be best to hire a professional to ensure the safety of the dock and those using it.

Wood rot and rust are two common issues that can be found on most docks. Both of these can be repaired fairly easily if they’re caught in time. If the rotting has gone too far, however, then it’s best to get a new dock. This will prevent further rot, and it’s also much safer to use.

Another issue that can be fixed fairly easily is rusty hardware on the dock. The constant turbulence of the water and the harsh thuds of boats motoring into it can cause a lot of wear and tear on the equipment on your dock. This is a great opportunity to upgrade to better and more durable hardware.

A common problem that can be difficult to fix is a crack in the foundation of the dock. This can be extremely dangerous if it’s in the load-bearing sections of the dock. This type of crack can compromise the structural integrity of the entire dock, so it’s important to have it addressed immediately. A professional can help to determine if the crack is serious and needs to be replaced or if it’s something less severe that just requires a sealant. Depending on the extent of the repair, you may be able to do it yourself, but it’s always best to contact a professional if you’re unsure of what to do.