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Standing on a Moving Dock Leveler Causes Moving Company Employee’s Leg to Break

Standing on a Moving Dock Leveler Causes Moving Company Employee’s Leg to Break

A moving company employee was finishing loading his delivery truck at a customer’s dock equipped with a Rite Hite HD3000 SAFE-T-LIP® Dock Leveler when he got his leg caught between the dock leveler and the roll down door of his truck.


The moving company employee securing his load, exited the back of the truck, and pressed the dock leveler’s raise button for a couple seconds until the unit took over automatically raising and lowering the lip into place.  While the unit was still raising and elevated to approximately 20 to 25 degrees, the employee stepped onto the dock leveler, grabbed the roll-up truck door strap, and pulled it down.  The employee then placed his right foot either on the handle of the door to push it down the rest of the way, or placed it on the truck’s platform/bumper.  He then placed his right hand on the locking mechanism.  While doing this, he kept his left foot on the dock leveler plate at it was at its peak incline angle of approximately 30 degrees and 30 inches above the truck’s platform.


As the dock leveler lowers to approximately 20 to 25 degrees, the dock leveler lip catches the employee’s right leg or foot.  The two other moving company employees ran in from outside the dock when they heard the their co-worker scream for help.  The trapped employee instructed one of his co-workers to press the dock leveler’s “raise” button to try to relieve the pressure.  When this was done, the dock leveler plate rose a little to approximately 25 degrees, but this was not enough for the employee to remove his leg.  As the dock leveler lowers under its own weight when the button is released, the co-worker held the “emergency stop” button to keep the dock leveler from moving and causing any additional injuries.  Eventually, the other moving company employee had a qualified driver pull the delivery truck forward to release the co-workers leg.  The result of this incident was a broken right tibia and many lost workdays.


Factors to consider at your site and/or project include, but not limited to the following:

  • Ensure personnel who use docks follow safe operating practices by staying off powered dock levelers when they are in operation.
  • Ensure personnel have been trained to recognize potential pinch points while a piece of equipment is operating.
  •  Ensure personnel do not feel a need to take a short cut to save time and/or effort, as it could place them at risk for an injury.
  •  Ensure equipment is properly maintained to reduce the amount of force required to operate it.  In this case, the roll down door on the truck required excess force to pull it down.  This may have motivated the moving company employee to obtain more leverage by standing on the dock leveler in the raised position and use his foot to kick down the door by stepping on its handle.
  • Evaluate the operating controls of equipment to ensure that the operator cannot place a part of their body in the point of operation after initiating the equipment.  This can be accomplished with two-hand controls, machine guarding, restraints, sensors, etc.  In this case the operational design of the dock leveler did not require the operator to keep a finger on the controls until the leveler had stopped moving.  Without such a machine safeguard, the unit allowed the operator or others to ride the leveler up and down placing them and risk.
  • Ensure personnel are aware of the proper way to respond to an emergency situation.  The action of the moving company co-worker pushing the dock leveler control buttons may have increased the initial injury.
Consider this example as you complete today’s work activities.
Safety Flash Action Items:
  • Date Contractor Safety Flash posted for all employees to review: _______________
  • Safety Talk meeting date: _______________
  • Full employee attendance and participation at safety meeting to review this incident (documentation required).
  • Employees understand urgency in protecting themselves and others.
  • Supervisors and Employees are clear which items shared in this Safety Flash are mandatory.
  • Employees/Supervisors will focus on recommended actions during future work activities of a similar nature.
Contract Firm Management Rep Signature____________________

THINK about the hazards associated with your particular work, and the steps that can be taken to increase safety on your job.

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