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Safety gates for fall protection on dock lifts

Safety Gates Secure Grocer's Loading Dock Lifts

Custom designs are our specialty...as we mentioned in our post last week, our new Dock-Lift safety gate began as a custom design for a customer. The national grocery store chain’s safety need was not inside the facility, but rather in the busy loading dock area in which deliveries are made each day.

In some loading dock operations lifts are installed to help transfer pallets of material. Employees often ride the lift from ground or dock level to align with the tailgate of the tractor trailer when they are moving material on and off of the truck. When the lifts elevate, employees are at risk for falls if there is no protection provided on the lift.

Docks and material handling operations vary widely from facility to facility - even the grocery store chain had different environments for their distribution centers and even stores. Large grocery stores often have dock areas to get their daily deliveries, with material coming from their separate distribution centers or individual suppliers. Our customer had multiple applications that used lifts in their dock operations, so our engineering team had to really dig into the ways each lift was being used to create the right fall protection safety equipment.

The Dock-Lift safety gate configuration that was the most popular in the grocery chain was one in which the gates moved in a crossing-guard style pattern. As the lift elevates, the gates automatically close and lock into place. The gates stay closed and locked until the lift goes back to ground level, providing fall protection while the lift is raised and material is moved from the lift, truck and dock.

Because each lift was in a fairly unique environment, our team created multiple Dock-Lift gate configurations based on the operation of each lift. In one of the grocery store dock operations, there was an awning that limited the height for any equipment on the lift. In this instance, we needed to create a safety gate in which the gates swung outward instead of in a crossing-guard style.

In addition, some of the lifts used at the grocery stores had specific dock traffic patterns so the gate design needed to accommodate the flow of the trucks moving around the area. Some of these areas used gates that swing outward, sometimes with a single gate that covered the entire eight foot lift. In other applications, bi-parting gates were used to prevent the gate from swinging into the delivery area. Our team also created a safety gate that can roll into position after the traffic has moved, and then can be rolled back into a safe position once the material has been transferred.

All of the Dock-Lift safety gates feature automatically closing gates, which ensures fall protection for any worker on the lift. They can be made in multiple configurations, depending on the operations of your dock, and in powder-coated mild or stainless steel. In addition, they meet OSHA regulations and ANSI standards for safety on lifts. Let us know if you have a dock environment that you need to secure; we’d love to help.