Dock Levellers

Related: Dock Leveller Inspections & OHSA 

Let’s start off with some food for thought: Of the ten most frequently-issued orders by the Ministry of Labour; failing to comply with requirements for maintaining equipment and facilities such as loading docks is one of the number one reprimands.

Many people, unfortunately, view dock levellers the same way as they view the floor in their facility, assuming that so long as it appears clean and is in working order everything is fine with it. This brings to mind the popular saying when one assumes…

Dock Levellers are extremely dynamic devices that can and will malfunction which is why it is so important that your dock levellers have regular inspections in order the prevent damage or injury from occurring.  

So what can/will a professional inspector look for when they check over your dock leveller?

  1. They will complete an Operational Test: An operational test is when they check to ensure the leveller reaches the full height and can move smoothly. They also use this as a chance to examine the springs and bindings and see if they require any adjustments.
  2. They will Check the Fluid Levels this is especially important If the dock leveller uses a hydraulic system. This is why it is important to have someone annually drain, flush, and change the hydraulic oil to ensure the Dock Leveller operates at peak condition.
  3. The lubrication of your dock leveller is also extremely important as well, which is why it should be checked every 90 days not just annually like is mandated by OHSA.
  4. They will also ensure that your dock leveller is clean in areas that you may not normally clean/check. This will help to ensure the longevity of your dock leveller.
  5. The inspector will also check the push-in bar and push-out plate assemblies and inspect the safety leg systems and return spring operation for any damage.
  6. They will look over the rollers, pins and bushings and check for any signs of wear like slat spots, missing fasteners or any dislodged bearing material.
  7. The inspector will also get a visual on if there is any wear and tear on the dock leveller and ensure that all of the welds are still well fastened.

So now you know what a professional inspector will look at to help you extend the life of your dock leveller, but what can happen if your dock leveller goes unchecked?

Trailer Creep:

Also referred to as trailer or dock walk this occurs when lateral and vertical forces are exerted by repeated entrance and exits of lift trucks, and this causes the trailer to creep away from the dock. When this occurs a separation from the dock leveller occurs. Injuries that are caused by this separation include anything from bruises and cuts to crushed limbs, which are often severe and at times can be fatal.

Slips & Falls

Malfunctioning Dock Levellers could become stuck at any time, including when fully extended from the ground, posing a serious concern for potential slips and falls (or employees jumping to get down).

But if keeping your employees safe is not a satisfactory reason as to why you should get your dock leveller inspected regularly how about the results of liability violations you could face from not maintaining your dock leveller and getting them inspected?

These results include:

  • Fines
  • Loss of Business (it may be shut down)
  • Lawsuits
  • A Damaged Reputation


Warehouses are an extremely busy place, you probably feel overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do, which is why you should attempt to ensure your dock levellers are properly inspected and maintained; because imagine the stress you will feel if one of them breaks down in the middle of a shift or you are faced with a lawsuit because you didn’t get them inspected or maintained them at and someone got hurt?


Do you have a Dock Leveller at your workplace?

Have you ever had to deal with a malfunctioning Dock Leveller? 

Is there a topic you wish to see in a future Blog Post?

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