A warehouse’s loading dock area can be one of the busiest parts of the whole operation at any time of year. Consequently, this makes warehouse loading docks one of the most common hazard zones in any warehouse operation. Inclement weather conditions, such as rain, multiply the level of injury risk workers in loading dock areas face (especially in Florida and Georgia, which have to deal with hurricane season every year).
However, there are ways to conquer the rainy season’s inclement weather—such as using dock shelters as a part of your loading dock design. How can dock shelter installations help you conquer high winds and rain to keep your employees (and products) safe? Here are a few of the ways dock seals and shelters can protect your operations:
1: Keeping Dock Floors Dry
One of the primary loading dock area hazards during the rainy season is wet floors. Even with slip-resistant boots, wet floor warning signs, and workers exercising all due caution, accidents can still happen when water pools on the floor.
By covering the back end of the trailer to create a seal, dock shelters and seals can keep the worst of the rain outside of your warehouse during loading and unloading operations. This, in turn, helps to improve employee safety in your loading dock.
2: Keeping Out High Winds
During hurricane season, even when a tropical storm or hurricane isn’t in the area, high wind gusts are still an everyday occurrence. These high winds can blow through dock areas, upsetting the balance of workers and fully-loaded forklifts alike. By sealing loading dock areas from these wind gusts, dock seals and shelters can minimize the risk of workers being blown off of their feet.
3: Dock Shelters Allow for Variable Trailer Sizes
The two benefits listed previously apply to both dock seals and dock shelters. However, dock shelters have one advantage over dock seals—namely, the ability to accommodate a wider variety of trailer types and sizes. This looser cover is more forgiving if the trailer is slightly misaligned, giving it a longer average useful life than the tighter dock seal.
However, the tradeoff is that the seal created by the shelter isn’t quite as tight. The thing is, during the rainy season in Florida and Georgia, high winds and rain can make it very difficult for truck drivers to line up their trailers perfectly—meaning that the extra forgiveness offered by different dock shelters can be a lifesaver.
4: Dock Seals Can Keep Out Bugs and Other Pests
While less forgiving than dock shelters, the tighter seal of a dock seal can keep unwanted pests, such as wasps, rodents, and mosquitoes, out of your warehouse. As any Floridian can attest, “skeeters” are one annoying distraction. Plus, as noted by the American Mosquito Control Association, they “cause more human suffering than any other organism -- over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year.”
Keeping these pests out of your warehouse as much as possible not only keeps your workers happy—it helps to keep them healthy by preventing pest-borne diseases.
5: Dock Seals Help to Maintain Climate Controls
Dock seals and, to a lesser extent, dock shelters, help to keep the climate-controlled air in a warehouse inside and the hot and humid air of the Florida & Georgia rainy season out. Not only does this help you minimize your energy bill for your warehouse’s air conditioning system, it helps many warehouses protect sensitive products from sudden temperature and humidity changes.
For example, if a warehouse is a lumber distribution area, the moisture content of their wood can be severely affected by local weather. If the humidity and the temperature of the warehouse changes, the wood could warp or even rot. Condensation from the humid air could even cause some metal objects to rust.
By protecting the loading dock area with a shelter or seal, you can prevent (or at least mitigate) the severity of sudden heat and humidity changes in your warehouse.
Need to know what types of dock shelters would be the best ones for your warehouse’s operations? Or, looking for competitive dock shelter prices for high-quality dock area equipment? Contact the experts at Southern States Dock & Door for help and advice! We look forward to hearing from you soon!