Loading docks should be designed to make working with tractor trailer trucks as easy and safe as possible, but it only takes a single design flaw to leave you dealing with serious and costly damage to the dock. Of course, this damage is likely to happen again and again until you fix the underlying cause as well. Be on the lookout for these three common causes of serious loading dock damage:
The amount of slope leading from the access road to the dock itself plays a large role in how much inappropriate contact there is between the truck and dock. Too much of a declining slope causes the top of the trailer to come in contact with the door, upper dock seal, or wall of the warehouse. If the truck backs up an incline that is too steep, the bumper and the safety bar below it will also contact the dock itself and the seal below it. Even a single case of contact can compromise the stability of an entire wall or rip off a large section of the seal. Aim to keep the slope around just one to two percent and never use a slope of greater than 10%.
Seal Foam Fires
Dock seals were heralded as a revolutionary invention because they prevent the loss of heated or cooled air from opening the loading dock door. However, the tight fit these seals are designed to create against the back of a delivery truck can also lead to serious damage that could spread into the rest of the building. Since the seal has to be tough enough to compress each time a truck pulls in, it's made of a dense foam material. This material is flammable and can catch on fire due to the heat generated by the lights on the back of the truck. Switching to a heat resistant seal is the best way to eliminate this cause of expensive dock damage.
The forklifts, pallet jacks, and other pieces of loading equipment used every day on the dock can also cause damage to it. Your loading crew is likely in a hurry to get their work done by the deadline, but this can cause them to rush when driving the equipment between the truck and the dock edge. Since trailers move up and down as they're unloading and due to the weight of the forklift itself, moving too quickly causes the forklift to ram into the edge or drop down onto it. Years of repeated abuse like this leads to crumbling, weak dock edge that requires extensive repair.
Contact a company like American Material Handling, Inc. for more information and assistance.