dents like trailer creep, early departure,
trailer upending, trailer pop-up, and
landing gear collapse,” Bergum explains.
“This alone makes the loading dock a
safer and more secure place to work.”
However, an automatic restraint is just
the first step, he adds. Accidents can still
happen; inadequate communication can
still be an issue. Communication at the
loading dock can be just as important as
the actual restraint.
A full-time visual communication
system at the loading dock can effectively communicate restraint status, and
eliminate the issues of traditional vehicle
restraint systems that only utilize a red
or green light to indicate restraint status.
Traditional restraint systems can often
miscommunicate, due to an obstructed
control box that might be covered by pallets, for example.
“Fully-integrated communication systems that provide instant, status-at-a-glance feedback provide the
safest solution,” says Bergum. Today’s fully-integrated
communication systems can provide clear, constant
communication of restraint status to the truck driver
on approach, personnel, and the forklift operator when
entering and exiting the trailer. In addition to control
box lights, lights in the upper corners of the interior
dock door provide highly-visible status reports as the
forklift driver enters the trailer. The forklift driver is
most at risk when he/she is inside the trailer, because
there’s no way for them to know whether the dock
restraint has been prematurely released, but indicator
lights mounted on the dock leveler confirm restraint
status as the forklift driver exits the trailer, as well a
reference point for backing out.
These communication systems provide an invaluable level of safety, providing restraint status to the
right person, at the right time, in the right location.
While still utilizing the common red and green status
symbols known worldwide, a fully-integrated communication system can allow a dock to operate more
safely and more efficiently.
“Whenever you add automation or semi-automation
to the vehicle restraint process, there are advantages,” explain Bergum. “First, it helps to reduce human
error. You’re not relying on dock attendants to manually place wheel chocks on the approach. Second, it
ensures that a vehicle restraint system is actively and
consistently being used in your facility.”
Vehicle restraints can help prevent all types
of trailer separation and are designed to meet
all challenges of the industry, including trailer
design, dock design, and regulatory compliance.