Loading docks can be dangerous work environments. That’s why they require many safety features in place for the protection of workers and property. One of these features is the loading dock vehicle restraint, which keeps trucks and other vehicles in place while cargo is moved back and forth.
Benefits of Vehicle Restraints
The first and most significant benefit of using vehicle restraints on your loading dock is the increased safety. When a transport vehicle backs up to the building, the hook of the vehicle restraint attaches to the vehicle’s rearguard. This keeps the vehicle safely in place while workers load and unload the freight. Vehicle restraints eliminate the gap between the vehicle and the dock due to vehicle creep, which workers, forklifts, and hand trucks could potentially fall into.
While wheel chocks are another great way to stabilize vehicles, they are not fixed pieces of equipment and often are not in place when they need to be. Using vehicle restraints minimizes accidents on the loading dock and improves productivity. They play a significant role in improving efficiency on the loading dock.
In addition to safety, vehicle restraints also help minimize the chances of a vehicle being stolen. Most can restrain a vehicle with a pullout force of up to 30,000 pounds. Loading docks are often busy and require much coordination. In many cases, there isn’t always someone available to monitor the truck cab at all times. With the vehicle locked to the restraint, a thief will be unable to drive it away without causing a major scene.
Types of Vehicle Restraints
Every loading dock is different. Therefore, it’s also an important benefit of vehicle restraints that they are entirely customizable. Some configurations even include stop and go light communication to signal to workers whether the restraint is engaged or not. The most common type is the face-mount restraint, which sits right on the outside of the loading dock. Recessed pit vehicle restraints store in a pit underneath the dock leveler and are put into place when necessary.
- Hydraulic Vehicle Restraints use hydraulic cylinders to power the unit. An internal automatic pressure switch keeps the arm of the restraint in a locked position while in operation. Dock attendants use a control panel to operate the arm.
- Electric Vehicle Restraints use an electro-mechanical hook. This configuration also uses touch controls to engage and disengage the arm. Hooks are often more useful for vehicles that may have damaged or bent rearguards.
- Mechanical Vehicle Restraints are manually operated by dock attendants. For efficiency and ease of operation, they don’t require any power. Mechanical vehicle restraints are the most economical type.