Caution! Dock Slippery When Wet and Other Winter Weather Woes

As we head into the fall and eventually winter, we start to focus on keeping warm. Keeping the cold air from blowing through our doors. Keeping the temperature in that sweet spot of not too hot and not too cold. But what about water? Not just from fall rainstorms but from melting snow and ice.

We know. It’s September. Are we really talking about snow and ice? Yep. We are.

Winter in the Midwest is hard. It can be brutal on your loading dock equipment and bottom line. It’s cold. It’s warm(ish). It’s sunny. It’s snowing. All of that can cause chaos with your loading dock equipment. Melting (and then refreezing) snow and ice pose serious safety concerns and performance problems at your loading docks.
 

Safety Concerns

Slippery docks are dangerous to your employees and visiting drivers alike. The potential for someone to slip and fall greatly increases if your docks are not properly sealed and water or ice is present. Forklifts going in and out of trailers will transfer water throughout your facility, creating even more chances for someone to slip and fall. This can lead to injuries, time off, workers comp – all of these can be avoided by paying closer attention to your loading dock and the potential for water infiltration.

Compliance Concerns

Ever smelled a stagnant swamp or bucket of water?  Standing water can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.  Bacteria poses numerous threats to the health of your staff and for food facilities can be a major violation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements.   FSMA requires you to have a food safety plan in place that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls to minimize or prevent the identified hazards.  

Pest infestation can be another violation especially in food and pharma facilities.  Any gaps in your seals or equipment can lead to issues with requirements and compliance.  

Performance Problems

Have you ever tried to pry something off the ground that good ole’ Mr. Winter has frozen?  Say your garbage can after it’s been sitting for a week with constant thaw and freeze.  Not a whole lot of fun and sometimes an unsuccessful venture.  Now imagine that at your loading docks.  Imagine melted ice and snow working its way down into your metal loading docks and thawing and refreezing.  Over and over again.  Many repairs we perform during the winter could be prevented by properly maintained and sealed equipment.  A nagging or small issue in July can become a big problem in December

So, what should I do?

  1. Be proactive. Schedule your Proactive Maintenance sooner rather than later. Find the small problems before they become big ones. If you don’t currently have a maintenance program in place, now is a great time to set one up – contact us today and we will get you started.  If you are part of our program, work with your Account Manager to address any issues found during your last inspection. 
  2. Dock seals.  Look at your dock seals.  If you can see rips or tears, they need to be replaced.  If you can see foam, they need to be replaced.  Besides helping (along with dock bumpers) to protect your building from damage they are also an integral part of keeping that opening sealed.  The correct seal or enclosure that is tailored for your facility, your trucks, and your budget are available through us.  Contact your Account Manager for details or check out our website for more information
  3. Consider installing HVLS, HVHS, or Dock fans.  Don’t underestimate the value that proper air movement can provide to your facility.  Energy savings, employee comfort, and safety are just few
  4. Consider snow removal equipment for your fleet and incoming trucks.  The Yeti could be just what you need
  5. Rain units provide another level of protection against water ingress.  They help divert water way from your building and provide excellent barriers to water run-off from the tops of trailers

Check out our other blogs on facility modernization and safety for more ideas on how to improve your facility and your bottom line.

As always, we hope you find this information useful and you find something that you can do in your facility to help prevent the winter blues. Please contact us with any questions or concerns. 

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