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Loading and unloading trailers safely

  A worker standing in the loading dock area with people, forklift, truck

When demands at work are high, your loading dock can become a very busy place – filled with people and forklift traffic. 

Image of a worker and cargo in a blue highlighted shield

To keep our cargo and our bodies safe, there are a few things we can do when loading and unloading trailers.

Image of a worker using a forklift to load and unload a trailer

Loading and unloading trailers: a checklist to stay safe

Before moving anything onto or off trailers, ask yourself these safety questions:

Image of lights above a trailer

1. Is there enough light to see clearly inside and outside the trailer?

Image of a worker driving a forklift inside the back of a truck   

2. Can the trailer support the weight of my forklift?

Image of the back of a truck showing stacked boxes

3. Have the materials shifted during transport and are the loads secure? 

 Image of a warehouse worker standing at back of truck showing truck bed

4. Is the truck bed in good condition?

Puddle of water on floor behind truck with do not operate a forklift or walk in water signs

5. Is the loading area dry to prevent slipping and skidding of machinery or people?

Image of entrances

6. Have the number of pedestrians been limited in the area?

Image of a worker operating a forklift in loading dock area.

7. Do the forklift operators have a clear view of the docks? 

What to do next  

Image of a checklist, wheel chocks on trailer wheel, T-stand at the end of trailer

If you can answer yes to each of the questions above, then:

  • Secure the trailer and prevent movement by putting dock locks or wheel chocks in place

  • Put a T-stand at the end of the trailer to stop it from tipping, if necessary

A group of warehouse workers standing together

If you have any questions or see anything unsafe, talk to your supervisor. By staying alert and aware, you can go home safe at the end of the day.