Material Handling and Loading Dock Safety

Material handling involves the use of motorized or non-motorized equipment to handle heavy and awkward loads and frequently involves the use of equipment or manual material handling around loading docks.

Workers who in the course of their duties lift, carry or move materials, articles or things using material handling equipment and/or work around loading docks are presented with unique hazards that could result in injury if not controlled. These hazards can include ergonomic hazards such as muscle strains from improper lifting and awkward postures to safety hazards such as falls from docks or lift gates; being struck, pinched, or run over by moving equipment or parts, such as from for example forklifts, dock plates or unsecured loads.

Academic departments and administrative units are responsible for providing and maintaining records on workplace-specific training on material handling and loading dock safety. This may include but is not limited to training on the use of specialized equipment such as dock lifts, lift gates, pallet trucks; departmental procedures for example on operating a dock lift and the use of personal protective equipment.

This webpage is a collection of U of G tools and guidance on the safe use of material handling equipment and safe work around loading docks. It is intended to provide University departments with such operations, general guidance on developing or improving their own safe work practices and procedures based on the types of hazards, activities, equipment, and vehicles involved. The tools, tips and checklists below can be used to review various material handling equipment and document workplace-specific training, as applicable.

Training Tools, Tips and Checklists

Transporting Loads Using a Push Cart or Dolly

Transporting Loads Using a Hand Truck (e.g, Fridge Cart)

Transporting Loads Using a Lift Table

Transporting Loads Using a Pickup Truck

Loading Docks

Dock Leveler

Loading Docks Inspection Checklist

Moving and Delivery Vans

Pallet Jacks

Manual Material Handling – Tips to Prevent a Lift Injury

Programs and Guidelines

U of G Lift Trucks – Powered Walkies; Stand on, Ride on, and Rough Terrain.

Occupational Health and Wellness – Ergonomics Program

Material Handling and Loading Dock Safety Guidelines

Additional Resources and Weblinks

Loading Dock Safety (Public Services Health and Safety Association)

Loading Docks and Warehouses (Workplace Safety and Prevention Services)

Agricultural Safety Topics – Loading Docks and Warehouses (Workplace Safety and Prevention Services)

Manual Material Handling Safety Tips (Workplace Safety and Prevention Services)

Job Aid – Hand Pallet Trucks and Pump Trucks (Workplace Safety and Prevention Services)