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Loading Docks and Safety Precautions

The recent fire at the loading docks of the Sysco center in Front Royal, Virginia has workers taking a closer look at safety precautions in these sometimes precarious areas. According to local Fire Chief Richard Mabie, it began with a refrigerated trailer exploding while located on Sysco’s loading dock at 10:20 pm. Fortunately, firefighters were able to contain the flames, Loading Dockminimizing the damage. Otherwise, the massive 20,000 building could have been destroyed—however, burning as well as smoke damage did occur.

Mabie says, “That will have to be repaired, but the building is generally a concrete building.” The damages are estimated in the “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Firefighters moved quickly, arriving just eight minutes after the fire started and say that the large flames covered the loading dock and crept into the building. Smoke was found throughout the distribution center, but the interior damage was minimal.

Work Accidents

Even though the fire was called an accident, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t preventable—or that the interior damage couldn’t have been further minimized. Loading docks can be dangerous areas with “surprises” like these happening all too often. However, adequate loading dock doors can help keep dangers such as fires outside. Once smoke and flames get inside a building, the cost of damages and risks to workers multiply.

Three people were injured and hospitalized, including two firefighters and a Sysco worker. The firefighters sustained bruising, while the employee inhaled smoke. They’ve already been treated and released from Warren Memorial Hospital, and so far Sysco has declined to make an official statement. However, it would be wise to consider the installation of new, improved dock doors as part of the rehabilitation process.

Keeping Things Out (and In)

There are no 100 percent fireproof loading dock doors, but there is a wide range of quality ones. Even for companies that aren’t as massive as Sysco, it’s important to remember that this part of the building is high-risk for many dangers, including fires. Keeping the potential damage to a minimum, and optimizing employee safety, can help companies sidestep tragedy and make sure their workers, inventory and property is as safe as possible.

The purpose of exterior doors for commercial use is twofold: Keeping things like fires and vandals out, while keeping inventory secure inside. Making sure every single exterior door, from loading docks to security counters, is of the highest quality can prevent property damage and save lives. Luckily, this time there were no serious injuries—but could the interior damage have been avoided altogether?

This entry was posted on Monday, July 14th, 2014 at 3:57 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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