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10 Things to Consider when Designing Your Loading Dock Area

Loading Dock

Check out our latest article on the key elements to look for when designing your loading dock.

Most companies, like yourself, have loading docks that you receive and ship out your goods from, and these areas usually have a flurry of activity going on; which is why it is very important that all measures are taken to ensure that your loading dock is safe and running efficiently.

Loading dock areas should be designed for durability and to ensure top level security, safety and productivity when it comes to personnel and goods. Loading docks should never compromise the safety of visiting truck drivers or company workers in nearby areas.

Here is a list of things you should consider when designing your loading dock area so it is safe and efficient:

  1. Location – your loading dock should always be designed keeping easy access in mind, while keeping it separated from public entrances to your facility, other public areas and light warehouse or industrial work areas.
  2. Dock Approach – to prevent collection of water at or near your loading dock, the access should be graded or sloped away from the loading dock.
  3. Loading/Unloading Vehicle Access – your loading dock should be equipped with at least one access ramp that stretches from the loading dock itself to the parking lot to allow deliveries from both small and large delivery trucks. The ramp should comply with ADA Accessibility Guidelines, and have a maximum slope of 1:12.
  4. Vehicle Accommodation – because not all pick up or delivery vehicles have the same bed height, at least one loading bay should be equipped with a dock plate, dock board or dock leveler, depending on your weight and traffic requirements, to help bridge the gap between the dock and the truck bed.
  5. Vehicle Creep Prevention – to avoid premature vehicle loading or departure and improve loading dock safety; wheel chocks, vehicle restraints, loading dock light communication packages including stop & go lights can all be installed.
  6. Dock Edge Protection – your loading dock edge should be equipped with dock bumpers and edge guards to prevent damage to both trucks and your dock.
  7. Adequate Lighting – It is also important to install adequate lighting for each truck position in order to provide illumination to the inside of the trailers. This ensures fast and safe loading/unloading.
  8. Exterior Dock Doors – overhead coiling doors are commonly used to provide protection to the exterior of the building from the elements, but whatever style door you choose, make sure it can be completely closed and locked during non-business hours. You should also have a personnel door that is well lit for safety, to allow for worker access.
  9. Overhead Protection – to provide protection from the weather, it is recommended that you provide covering beyond the edge of the loading platform to provide protection during loading and unloading operations. Dock seals and shelters can be installed for added protection from the elements.
  10. Staging Area – a staging / holding area inside your building, adjacent to the loading dock, should be provided for your goods.

By taking these things into consideration when designing your loading dock area, you will have a more efficient and safe environment for your personnel and goods. It is always best to involve a material handling expert during the design process, to ensure everything is just right for your operations.