Shipping container unloading is often viewed as a routine and mundane task that Australian companies manage on a daily basis.
Yet the risks for those drivers and warehouse operators when it comes to moving the stock from the vehicle to a loading bay can be risky when safety procedures are not adhered to.
Workers can suffer injury or death and in these events, the company is liable for damages.
They might be small details from the outside looking in, but it is important to run through some key tips to ensure that these problems do not occur.
Taking a Step Back
A very simple first step to ensure safe shipping container unloading is for the courier or warehouse operator to stand at arm’s length from when the door is initially opened. This is for one fundamental reason – to protect people from falling items that have not been properly secured during transport. There are no guarantees for drivers when they secure loads that something at some stage has not been compromised, with a hook or lead becoming loose during the hours of the journey. To avoid suffering from a loose container falling on a worker and causing injury or death, be cautious and take a firm step back to begin with.
Open Door Policy
It might appear counterproductive on the surface with shipping container unloading to leave the door open for a period of time, but that is necessary for one key reason. Often these vehicles will require toxic chemicals to be dispersed and fumigated to negate the presence of pests and insects infiltrating the assets. By open up the doors and exposing the area to the outside air, those potentially dangerous and hazardous fumes can disappear from the scene with immediate effect. As a contingency plan, it is worthwhile for professionals to wear face masks in the event that any lingering chemicals or toxic particles are still present.
Even Level Surface
Shipping container unloading that is practiced on an uneven surface presents dangers. For the ramp to allow for a smooth transition and the forklift to enter in and out of the back of the vehicle, the access point cannot be compromised by terrain that escalated one way or the other. This is even true of muddy and dirty grounds where rocks and sticking points can compromise the machinery.
Safe and Predictable Routes
Predictability can be a toxic word in some circles of the business sector, but not when it comes to the safety of shipping container unloading. Vehicles that are exposed to unusual paths, dirt roads and freeways that have not been previously calculated into the transportation of the items often find the goods compromised. Direct routes that have been driven on continual occasions prove to be the safest course of action for organisations who need to protect their cargo. In severe cases, some trucks can even tip over if they have not originally calculated the logistics of the route, heading up or down tight hills that lead to catastrophe.
Regular Inspections and Examinations
Industry loading bays and highway docks do run regular checks on weight and provisions for vehicles, but they also happen to help when it comes to safe shipping container unloading. Having an independent third party body who can view the dimensions of the truck and check whether or not the cargo is protected with the appropriate hooks and slings are paramount to running a smooth process. Drivers and warehouse managers can be strained with their own internal time pressures, so that extra hand of assistance can make a world of difference.
Errors and accidents in any workplace are a direct result of a lack of oversight and an inability to apply commonsense. That is very much the case with shipping container unloading practices. Operators must be mindful of the risks and follow through on these procedures as a matter of course.