What Is a Dock Leveler?

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Transporting equipment, vehicles and any other heavy devices can be dangerous if you are not using a dock leveler. Not only can it be dangerous to people, but it could damage the objects you are transporting. The dock leveler is there to make the transportation as smoothly as possible.

Basics

The dock leveler (also known as dock boards or dock plates) is a tool that people can use to fill in the gap between a trailer and the dock when loading or unloading.

Function

Trailers will sometimes come with bed heights that are not the same as the dock (either below or higher than the dock). The function of the dock leveler is to move up or down, depending on where the trailer bed is located so machines such as forklifts can travel across to the dock smoothly.

Types

For dock levelers, there are multiple types such as Hydraulic, Air-powered, Mechanical and Specialty. The Hydraulic consist of the Standard Hydraulic (RHH), Vertical Hydraulic (RHV), and the Jumbo, which offers full-width trailer access. The Air-Powered consist of the Air-Tower dock leveler (RHA). It is like the hydraulic leveler and prevents any potential stump-out problems. For mechanical, there is the Standard Mechanical dock leveler (RHM) and the Edge-of-Dock leveler (RHE). The Railcar and Truck Activated are the Speciality dock levelers for railcars and trucks.

Considerations

The types of vehicles or machines you will be transporting should be in consideration when deciding on which dock leveler you should use. The dock leveler you choose must match the requirements you have for your given situation. Also the trailer dimensions, how frequently it will be loaded and the load capacities needs to be in heavy consideration when choosing a dock leveler.

Warning

When you have your dock leveler, make sure you have dock drop-off protection and free-fall protection. Any loose areas in the dock can result in serious injury or death to employees or personnel while the dock is in use.

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