Improve Safety & Efficiency of Lift Gate Trailer Loading at the Docks

Lift gate trailers

Lift gate trailers are beneficial for shippers as they provide the means to load/unload shipments without the need for a loading dock. Trailers equipped with a lift gate can be loaded / unloaded by lowering the cargo to the ground on the lift gate and cargo can then be moved with the use of a forklift or pallet jack. However, lift gate trailers pose a unique safety dilemma when arriving at a loading dock, as typical safety hook restraints cannot be used to secure the trailer to the dock. An unsecured trailer at the dock presents an unsafe loading / unloading environment for forklift operators and dock workers.

What’s the risk?

In the United States there are 97,000 forklift accidents reported each year, resulting in injury and or fatality. Of these reported incidents, 7% of those accidents occur during loading / unloading of a trailer. These loading/unloading occurrences could have been prevented if the proper trailer restraint system was implemented at the dock. However, many loading docks across the United States are setup to only safely accommodate traditional trailers with rear impact guards, also known as Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) bars, that accommodate restraint hook capability and do not have a safe option for trailers equipped with lift gates.
A trailer equipped with a lift gate prevents the use of the ICC bar with a hook-restraint device. Due to the mounting of the lift gate, a hook restraint is unable to properly attach to the ICC bar and significant damage to the restraint hook and property can be sustained when used with a lift gate trailer. Chocks can be implemented for lift gate trailers, as they are an acceptable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) option for trailer safety, however, chocks offer minimal protection against trailer movement and can provide a false sense of safety during the loading / unloading process. Chocks do not provide an effective barrier to preventing drive-away, potentially pulling away while a forklift operator remains in the trailer or even caught between the back of the trailer and the dock edge. So, what type of restraint system can be implemented to ensure maximum safety for loading / unloading these trailers?

What’s the solution?

Salvo Loading Dock Safety Systems can ensure the safe loading / unloading of lift gate trailers at docks and provide the same level of safety for all trailer types. Salvo systems ensure a predetermined sequence of operations when restraining the trailer at the dock. Once the trailer is parked at the dock, Salvo’s patented glad hand with interlock technology is secured to the trailer’s emergency brake coupling, interlocking the trailer with the dock door.

The released key from the glad hand is then inserted into the Salvo Control Panel, trapping the key, and communicating to the dock employees via a traffic light system that the dock door can be opened and it is safe to load/unload.
Only once the process is complete and the dock door is locked, can the key be released and returned to the glad hand, allowing the air-lines to be reconnected and the driver to safely depart.

Salvo Loading Dock Safety Systems provide:

• Versatility: A complete restraint system for all trailer types providing full dock safety system
• Communications: Truck drivers and forklift operators are aware of loading/unloading progress
• Regulations: Conforms to OSHA loading / unloading compliance 29 CFR 1910.178

Implementing a trailer restraint system that ensures a maximum level of safety for all trailer types, with no limitation, allows greater safety and loading / unloading efficiencies at the docks. Salvo Loading Dock Safety Systems eliminate human error and ensures the safest possible lift gate trailer loading & uploading.

To learn more about how Salvo can improve the safety and efficiencies at your dock, visit

or contact Dan Skiba, Director-Salvo at