Minnesota dock workers should be aware of the dock loading requirements established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Of particular importance is knowing when a loading dock requires a guardrail and the situations in which a visual barrier is appropriate.

Nearly 25 percent of warehouse injuries that are reported take place on loading docks. In addition, there are hundreds of very close calls that don’t lead to injuries.

Various factors could lead to dock injuries. Common causes include the separation of trucks from the platform and tumbles from the dock. These incidents can inflict very grave injuries and result in death, which is why it is essential that there are proper safety protocols on loading docks.

Closed dock doors when there are no trucks at the dock is a requirement that is used by some employers. However, a majority of factories do not have climate-controlled warehouses. These factories use open dock doors as a source of ventilation. On docks that are busy, open doors also allow workers to see when trucks are arriving, and not having to constantly open and close the dock doors make using the dock much easier.

When to use guardrail, an actual fall protection barrier or a just a visual barrier will depend directly on the platform’s height. According the OSHA standard pertaining to Protection for Wall Openings and Holes, if there is a drop from a wall opening that exceeds 4 feet, an actual fall protection barrier should be in place.

A workers’ compensation attorney may assist clients who have sustained workplace injuries due to unsafe working conditions or inadequate safety policies. Workers’ compensation may be used for medical expenses, rehabilitation or lost wages.