Loading Bay Tips And Tricks Posted by ocmaillet | Jan. 22 2021
One of the most important skills for a new driver is successfully setting up for a dock. Backing up can be stressful for a new driver in any vehicle, but with a transport truck, the risk of damage to the loading dock and/or cargo is extremely high.
With so much risk involved, there has to be a certain set of rules to take into consideration when backing a transport into the loading bay/dock; and there is!
These rules are meant to provide a guideline for new and seasoned drivers. No matter how long you have been driving loading bays/docks will always be a challenge.
Get Out Of Your Truck
Getting out of the truck multiple times is very necessary, especially if it is a loading area the driver is not familiar with. Hop out and take a look at your surroundings, is there a planter, a curb, or a vehicle parked in the way – snap a mental picture. If you forget, hop out and take another look. If you can’t see the dock from the street, get out and walk into the area to check for any possible obstructions.
Say No If Necessary
If the loading area is obstructed, or you have other concerns about backing into the designated area, say no. Damage to the truck, or the cargo can negatively impact the driver’s record, not to mention the impact it may have on their job.
Talk To The Shipper
If you arrive and the loading area is cluttered with parked cars, palettes, or any other obstruction, speak with the shipper and request the area be cleared. Check out the state of the loading dock area in terms of structure stability as well. Are there pieces of concrete missing, or does the area look unkempt? If so, speak to your dispatcher to advise of any unsafe areas. Safety of the driver, the truck and it’s cargo is of the utmost importance.
Take It Slow
Unloading is not a race. Take your time, and back up slowly. This will allow you time to check for those obstructions, and line the truck up properly to the loading dock area. It is not uncommon for even the most seasoned drivers to ask for a spotter!
When in doubt, refer to your training or even your mentor. Backing up is the most difficult thing to successfully accomplish as a new driver (or even a seasoned one!). Practice makes perfect!
There is often a gap between the loading dock area and the trailer itself, it’s caused by a forklift or other heavy equipment going in and out of the trailer. If trailer creep is not addressed, the fork lift, or even a person could fall in the gap that has been created. To prevent this, it is often recommended that the trailer stay attached to the truck until the load is fully removed.
Backing into the loading bay is one of the most difficult and useful skills a driver can have. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice as this is a well known fact in the driver community. Remember, even the most seasoned drivers were new once too.