Shopping Centre Loading Dock Safety
The majority of the high risks we identify during audits of shopping centres and malls are in and around loading docks. In a lot of retail centres these are also the areas which get the least attention as they are unlikely to be seen by the majority of customers. There is a lot hazardous activity taking place in these areas including delivery vehicles, stock movements, maintenance contractors, waste dumping and removal etc.
The biggest problem is when customers and staff use these areas to take a short cut into the Centre from the car park or a nearby housing estate. We usually find that this has been going on for sometime and that Centre Management are well aware of it but choose to turn a blind eye or condone this activity as it is too hard to control or manage.
Following the death of a customer who was hit by a reversing trolley tractor in a shopping centre loading dock, Worksafe Victoria issued a Safety Alert to warn about these potential hazards. Download Full Alert: [download id=”19″]
In regards to loading dock safety, Worksafe made the following recommendations:
Traffic management in loading/unloading dock:
• Prevent general public access to these areas, and prominently display signs prohibiting unauthorised access
• Enforce separation of vehicles from authorised employee and contractor pedestrian traffic by installing clearly marked walkways, bollards, barriers and marked vehicle parking bays
• Provide safe access and egress for authorised pedestrians to loading dock (interlocked or card access on entry/exit points)
• Monitor the loading dock (eg closed circuit television)
• Enforce clearly signed speed limits
• Install mirrors to provide drivers and pedestrians with better visibility
• Establish a schedule for vehicles to use the loading dock; or control or limit vehicle access to dock.
Design of loading/unloading docks:
• Review design and use of older docks regularly, especially in relation to potential pedestrian and traffic interaction
• Design or retro-fit where practical to better manage vehicle entry/exit and circulation of vehicles
• New designs of loading docks should avoid, where possible, the need for vehicles to reverse where there is potential for interaction with pedestrians or other vehicles. Designs need to ensure that all users have good sight of other users. Mirrors and other aids in the dock should only be considered as a last resort.
We urge all Shopping Centre Owners and Mangers to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment of their loading docks, implement and monitor effective controls.
Of course there are many other hazards such as vehicles impacting the building, lighting, waste management, trip hazards, falls from height and slips and falls. Contact us if you need assistance and you can find more info at the Public Liability Website