The True Cost of Loading Dock Accidents

Quite often we hear from our dealers that a customer refused to be convinced of the need for truck restraints or other safety equipment at the loading dock – until they experienced the misfortune of an accident.

According to 2007 NIOSH data (the most recent study available), each year over 94,750 Americans are injured by forklifts. A study of forklift related deaths in the years 1980 to 1994 showed that 7% of forklift related deaths were caused by a forklift falling off the loading dock.

The costs that a company can incur due to an accident can be catastrophic. Most obvious are the direct costs associated with an injured employee such as medical expenses and workers compensation. However, the largest portion of expense can be attributed to the “hidden” costs of dealing with the aftermath of an accident:

• Forklift and equipment damage
• Building and property damage
• Product and material loss or spoilage
• Scrap
• Production delays
• Lost time from fellow workers
• Loss of efficiency
• Lost time from supervisors
• Cost of hiring and training a new worker (temporary or permanent)
• Overtime costs
• Failure to ship orders
• Potential increase in workers compensation insurance based on your company’s Experience Modification factor. (Annual insurance payouts for US worker accidents exceed $55 billion each year*)
• Potential OSHA fine (2009 fines ranged from $10,000 to $70,000)
• Potential lawsuit

For every dollar of direct cost, a company has the potential of incurring an additional $5 to $50 of these indirect or “hidden” costs.

Investment in loading dock safety equipment such as truck restraints can help to minimize companies’ exposure and risk from these types of accidents. Make sure that you educate your customers so that they can make the most informed decision.

*National Academy of Social Insurance – Study of 2007 data reported August 200