The Power of Safety Interlocks in Your Equipment

Bo Dietrick

February, 2020

The world of shipping and logistics gets faster every day. With the increased demand for on-time, reliable shipping and receiving, warehouses become fast-paced environments to manage. This accelerated pace of business can be especially challenging for Environmental Health and Safety Managers to control the safe use of equipment at the loading dock.

Equipment that is important to the loading and unloading of semi-trucks, such as dock levelers, dock restraints, dock barriers, and overhead doors, can become liabilities for unsafe practices. Proper protection against human error can be the difference between a safe facility and one where equipment is damaged and, even worse, people are injured.

Rite-Hite’s Dok-Commander Controls

Industrial loading dock equipment by Rite-Hite has the capability of interlocking key functions of the loading and unloading process. Better yet, interlocks can extend to competitive brand equipment by connecting to Rite-Hite’s Dok-Commander controls. Interlocks create the ability for Warehouse Managers and Safety Managers to implement a correct process of command in using loading dock equipment. Process of command is mapping out the expected use of the equipment and, then, locking out missteps.

See the correct steps of operation below as an example of how interlocks can force proper use and remove human error.

  1. When a truck arrives at a loading dock position, the Dok-Lok rotating hook restraint is engaged to secure the trailer. This shows a red light outside and a green light inside.
  2. Once the truck is secure, only now can the Dok-Guardian fall-off protection be removed.
  3. Now that the Dok-Guardian is disengaged, the overhead door can be raised to the “open” position.
  4. Once the door is raised, now the hydraulic leveler can be raised to access the trailer. Interlocks make it impossible to skip a step in the programmed process. Step #2 can only happen after step #1 has been accomplished. And these interlocks can work in reverse order, too. See below for the opposite commands in the example described above.
  5. The hydraulic dock leveler must be stored in the pit.
  6. Now that the leveler is stored, the overhead door can be lowered.
  7. Once the door is closed, the Dok-Guardian barrier must be engaged to protect against the 4-foot drop-off.
  8. Now that the barrier is raised, the Dok-Lok rotating hook restraint can be disengaged, and the truck gets the green light to drive away!

Laying out a standardized and approved system of operation will protect both you and your facility’s equipment. If you have questions about interlocks and the variety of products that can be connected, reach out to an associate with Robert Dietrick Company to discuss more!

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