The Delivery Area Safety Inspection

Night loading at papermill

Identifying Hazards

A hazard is sometimes defined as the precondition for an accident. Management needs to create a safety culture in which the entire organization—every employee, every function, every level—has the capability and the responsibility for hazard identification.

One effective tool for hazard identification is the workplace inspection. Inspections can be conducted at anytime and, with proper training, by employees, supervisors or managers.

The Delivery Area Safety Inspection is an example of a safety or hazard inspection which can be conducted at a dock, cross-dock, or shipping and receiving area.


  • How is the load secured when the driver is not in attendance?
  • Is there a load seal on each delivery/shipment? What is the procedure to break the seal?
  • What is the policy/procedure to check shipping papers/manifest against the delivery/shipment?
  • What is the policy/procedure to check for damage to the shipment?

Conformance to Job Safety Analysis (JSA)

  • Is there a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) on file for dock-area staff? Is the JSA signed by management?
  • What Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) are required?
  • Do drivers follow the 3 Points of Contact during ingress/egress?
  • What kind of a barrier gate is in place that prevents loading equipment from colliding with and damaging the dock doors?
  • What kind of dock-lock system or vehicle restraint is in place? Does dock-lock system have a light bar with roll-up door control? What is the plan for regular maintenance on the vehicle restraint equipment as bumpers, lights, communication packages, and other loading dock accessories?
dock lock

A dock-lock system

If no vehicle restraint system is in place, how are the tires chocked or vehicle secured against movement?

  • What is the policy/procedure for Loading/Unloading? Tank hook up? Tank filling?
  • What Safety Data Sheets (formerly MSDS) are posted?
  • What is the policy/procedure for Emergency Procedures? Co-Mingling of Hazmat Classes?
  • What is the procedure to report hazards or concerns, unsafe practices, or damaged equipment to supervisors?

Top Tip: Workers on foot should never be on the
opposite side of a flatbed truck from a forklift while it is loading or unloading material. CNA

Driver and Location Issues

  • Is there a need to back up?
  • Where do drivers take their Shipping Papers/Load Manifest?
  • How is the area control? Where do drivers go when loading/unloading?
  • What are any access obstructions?
  • What kind/nature of any slopes are present?
  • What foot traffic is allowed in the area?
  • Are there any storm drains?
  • What kind of worker exposure is there to open loading dock doors and other areas that employees could fall 4 feet or more?


Safety refers to the measures taken to protect the driver, vehicle and cargo during transport operations from hazards.

Security refers to the measures taken to protect driver, vehicle and cargo against sabotage, attacks, and theft while it is in transport.

Dock Incidents and Accidents are Rare . . . but Deadly

dock hazards

















Drivers — especially new drivers — need to know where to be at all times while in the Material Transfer Zone (MTZ). There are potential hazards from moving vehicles and lift trucks, many times moving in reverse with limited sight distance, slip and fall hazards from climbing up and down or from uneven or slippery surfaces, and unique location hazards.

That’s why it’s a good idea to periodically inspect your dock areas — before something happens . . .

Thank you for reading this.