Those things we may take for granted and can regret – A Talk w/Joe


Hello again, I’m Marty back with Warehouse and Operations as a Career, Today Joe and I would like to talk about a few of the Warehouse tools and equipment that may or may not have specific regulatory or training per say attached to them but can present dangers of injury to us and others.  Joe how you been doing Sir?

Joe – just fine always glad to be here, how about yourself…

Marty – Doing Great, traveling a bit and getting to meet new people, two of my favorite things to do.  Last week I mentioned two things while speaking about the use of Hand Trucks, which were Dock Plates and Wheel Chocks.  Joe reached out to me and we ended up talking a bit about several different Safety Opportunities in most warehouse environments so we decided to speak about a few of them today.  Joe I’m still seeing a lot of the spring lever action dock plates in my travels.  You know where you walk towards the middle on them and there’s that large recessed ring attached to a chain that you yank on which releases a spring trigger and the dock plate pop’s up, the trailer lip extends and you have to hurry up towards the top so our weight will make it drop onto the trailer where another spring trigger locks it in place I suppose.  Of course, I see a lot of automatic and manual hydraulic systems out there as well and I’m not sure we as warehousemen think enough about the dangers a dock plate can present to us.

Joe –

Along with dock items there are also:

Overhead cranes


Cardboard bailers

Trash compactors

Compressed air

Floor buffers

To name a few, that are also somewhat of a hazard if you’re unprepared. Each requires it own non-regulated training for sure. Otherwise each of these can change the way your day is going.

Marty – Yeah, I’ve unfortunately witnessed too many Near Misses and injuries with them, in every instance the situation could have been avoided if a little focus and observation of the surroundings had been applied.  I once saw a gentlemen’s finger get hung up in the pull chain, the pull ring had been broken and he was just wrapping the chain around a couple of fingers and tugging on it.  Well, he pulled it, the dock plate trigger released but his finger didn’t come loose from the chain, the dock plate came up and his finger got cut pretty bad as his finger was pulled down into the recessed hole.  Another time an unloader or lumper jumped up inside of the trailer, he was going to assist the trailer lip to raise as his friend pulled the chain and ran up the dock plate forcing it down and into position.  It came down alright, right on the guy in the trailer’s toes, thank goodness, he was wearing steel toe boots, and by the way they were not required at the time at that facility.  He was sure thankful he had them on that day though!

Joe – Just because there is no license or certificate to be awarded the need for on the job training with tools and equipment is very much needed. Lots of accidents can be prevented just from listening and doing our jobs correctly. The lack of attention to detail sometimes costs us dearly especially when working with tools. By using our gear incorrectly, negligently or misreading our equipment causes us to not be in full control of the task at hand and leaves us open to dangerous possibilities.

Marty – And Wheel Chocks, I see a lot of wheel chocks or tire blocks being used, or suppose to be being used in the various yards.  I myself knocked a trailer loose and had it roll a bit forward with me upon entering it with a forklift once, can’t even describe that sensation!  I had relied on another person to check the wheel chocks, that was the last time I ever relied on anyone else, I always checked them myself going forward.  I’ve actually seen trailers push forward enough to break the landing gear up front and the trailers nose landed on the ground.  I really like the newer locking mechanisms we’re seeing today, where they actually lock to the ICC bumper of the trailer attaching it to the dock.  Have you seen any of the newer locks that actually come up in front of the tires, up out of the asphalt or concrete, I’ve heard about them but haven’t seen one in operation yet?

Joe –

Truck underride is when a passenger vehicle crashes into and penetrates beneath, or “underrides”, the taller rear or side of a large truck or trailer.

Rear guards on trucks and trailers were initially required in 1953, and are known as ICC bumpers (Interstate Commerce Commission)

Marty – You know another danger that’s always scarred me and I’ve always checked them out thoroughly before operating them are things under hydraulic pressure like trash compactors and bailers, you know like the things we stack cardboard and shrink wrap in which compresses it tightly and we guide those long wires through it tieing it off producing a large, and heavy bail.  I always check those door larches and safety guides making sure everything is right before I work with them!  I’ve never seen one come open but I don’t want to be standing in the wrong place if it did!

Joe –  That’s right. We often take for granted the work of others as well. Bailing cardboard has its dangers and when we walk by those bail we seldom realize or recognize the inherent “potential” dangers as well. I know I sure don’t want to be near one of those wires should it come lose and whip around.

Marty –   I’m bearing some of my ridiculous fears, but I need to add Dock Doors, the roll up doors, to that list, man you have to show them things some respect.  I actually witnessed a driver raise one one day, actually kind of slammed or shoved it up real hard.  Two panels of like the five comprising the door came loose, off the tracks and hit him in the back of the head, it really injured him bad, cut his skull, he was out for quite a while.  And those dang springs, I’ve seen them shoot across the warehouse before, even the coil kind can be dangerous, those things are wound tight!

Joe – One of the other things I have seen Marty was during the night shift. On slow nights I knew of a ware house that would have the forklift operators do other tasks including cleaning at the warehouse. One day when I went in to speak to the warehouse manager I noticed a large hole in the breakroom wall. When I asked about it I was told they have a new forklift guy at night that wanted to use the floor buffer and well it got away from him. The FL driver just did not anticipate the force and strength that the buffer had.

Marty – These kinds of things of course, us as new boots are shown how to operate them, but there’s probably not really any formal training or written process at some facilities.  Common sense and focus really has to be applied with our positions.  As with anything we don’t understand, it’s our responsibility to ask questions, follow directions and contribute to the strong Safety Culture of our Company!

We talk about PIT Training, Powered Industrial Truck training or 29CFR1910.178 quite a bit which applies to specific tools or equipment used in our Facilities, and those are regulated rules, laws actually, I think just that regulation alone has helped raise awareness to us on the floor, helps with our own individual Safety Culture across the board don’t you think?

Joe – That’s right, we shouldn’t even think of them as warehouse rules it should be more like warehouse etiquette. When you go to a nice restaurant you know you are expected to behave a certain way and when you go to your grandmothers house you know theres a way to behave there as well. So being in an industrial setting should be more reason to keep safe and pay attention to your surroundings which is the main idea behind all safety rules we use.

Marty – So what are a few of your personal fears or things you yourself approach with caution, its different for each of us.

Joe – One of mine has definitely got to be blind corners and approaching them, whether I’m on foot or on some kind of Powered Industrial Truck I ALWAYS use the most cautious approaches when heading to one. So, these are the types of things I look at when I am at a facility or doing an audit or whatever when at a warehouse. It draws my concern.

Marty – Give us 3 things or thoughts you as a Safety Manager and Certified Health and Safety Officer you look for or would like to see us as employees, new to the industry types recognize or work harder on?

Joe –

  1. Housekeeping/clean as you go (relevant to your work area) Helps you get done quicker because you job is never done until your work area is clean, basic rule everywhere. Instead of putting off the inevitable because of dislike…..
  2. Attention to detail (no rushing and sloppy work, Safe & adding your name means something) This CREATES a safety work culture because its along the lines of doing things correctly, and correctly will work with high speed operations by the way. We have industry fortune 500 companies that prove this daily.
  3. Final checks, review of work Make sure your work is what it needs to be and what is expected.

 We all have an objective or task which is our job, its specific, we’re trained on it and we know how to do it but I think it’s important we realize how many other things we touch on or have a part of.  I guess to summarize we could say It’s so important to stay focused, watch our surroundings and pay attention to what we’re doing at all times.  One of the first things we’ll learn, and it’s a rule in every warehouse, building and Facility is no horseplay.  No playing around with our peers, co-workers or the equipment.  Maybe that’s the first Safety Rule I ever learned!

Marty – You brought up some great points Joe, and as always, we here at WAOC enjoyed our discussion today and appreciate you taking the time to speak with us.  I’d like to thank you for listening each week too, it was great that you reached out to us to expand on last week’s thoughts, very good points today Sir.

Joe – What we stress on the jobsite is what we used to stress in the army, in fact there we had sort of a slogan and it was STAY ALERT! STAY ALIVE!! And that very much applies in today work place as well, let’s pass it on to our listeners and hope they remember to do just that!

Marty – That’s simply discipline and I’d agree, rules are probably there because something came up which created them, very possibly from a Near Miss being reported and we’re all better off when the workplace Safety rules are followed.  I like your STAY ALERT STAY ALIVE slogan.

Marty – And us here at WAOC and all our guests really appreciate each of you, our Listeners, checking in with us each week, keep those questions and emails coming in, Participation and your growth within the Industry is what makes this all worthwhile, well that and we all just love talking about Operations and Safety too. Remember to use some key words with your Supervisors, talk about Near Miss Reporting, ask to lead your daily stenches before shift, ask about any company procedures, maybe bring up something from the General Maintenance Practices sheet.  We want to get noticed by our Supervisor and let them know we’re interested in the Team, Company & our Advancement.  And most importantly think Safety.  Safety is our, us as individuals, Responsibility.  Our Companies, our co-workers, Families and children rely on us every day, let’s not let them down and protect them as well!  Have a great week and BE Safe out there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *