6 Ways to Enhance Loading Dock Security
Your warehouse cannot function without its loading docks, but you know they leave your business vulnerable. A loading dock has inherent security risks because it serves as a warehouse point of entry and a site of material goods transfer. If you aren’t vigilant about loading dock security, unwanted persons may enter your warehouse, and valuable goods may leave without your knowledge.
Although your loading dock will always have some level of vulnerability, you control many aspects of loading dock security. Minimize your loading dock’s vulnerability by taking the following security measures.
1. Examine your current state of security.
A thorough update of loading dock security begins with an examination of where you stand now. Conduct a security audit so you understand how well (or poorly) your current security measures work. At minimum, you should check the following:
- Overhead door locks
- Existing vehicle restraints and landing gear
- Security system functionality
- Security camera visibility and functionality
If you have an IT department, ask someone from that department to assess your door controls and security systems. You want to know if hackers could gain access to your warehouse through these means.
You can also ask a warehouse supplier or security systems manufacturer to perform the audit for you. Their fresh eyes may spot security risks you would have missed.
2. Install the highest quality security cameras you can afford.
Analog CCTV equipment is no longer your only option for capturing security footage. IP (Internet protocol) cameras allow you to film in higher quality and see more detail with digital zoom. You can also access the footage anywhere you have an Internet connection. Some systems even send out alerts when they detect possible security breaches.
If you can afford one, an IP camera system can bolster your warehouse security. Even if you cannot afford an update now, ensure that your security cameras can see your entire loading dock area, both inside and out. Its footage should enable you to verify truck license plate numbers, quantities of goods transferred, and identities of those in the loading dock area.
Also, remember to announce that you use 24-hour video surveillance. Doing so may deter theft. You can read about Government of Canada’s guidelines for video surveillance here.
3. Have someone on lookout whenever shipments come or go.
Loading docks don’t have immunity to security risks simply because trusted employees work in and around the loading dock. You don’t know the motives of new or unknown delivery truck drivers, and you cannot predict whether disgruntled current or past employees will take advantage of their insider knowledge to seek revenge.
You don’t have to assume that people in those categories will harm your business in some way. Instead, adopt a policy that requires someone to observe the area around the loading dock whenever shipments arrive or leave. You protect yourself when you assume that security risks are higher at these times, no matter who works in the loading area.
4. Use strong, reliable vehicle restraints.
Vehicle restraints allow trucks to stay secure as you transfer goods in and out of the truck. That’s their practical function, but you can also consider them a security measure. Vehicle restraints prevent drivers from leaving unexpectedly with goods in tow.
When buying vehicle restraints, choose those that accommodate several truck sizes. You may also want vehicle restraints with built-in alarm systems.
5. Have high velocity low-speed fans (HVLS) near your loading dock.
One of the easiest ways a loading dock becomes vulnerable is if employees leave the dock door open during business hours. Often, they simply want to create more comfortable conditions inside a warehouse that’s too hot or too cold. But open doors mean less controlled access.
High velocity low-speed fans near the loading dock take care of this problem. They provide workers with the comfort they want. In return, workers will keep dock doors closed and your warehouse secure.
6. Keep loading docks and warehouse equipment in good repair at all times.
Loading docks become more vulnerable to entry by unwelcome persons if they have broken doors, weak door panels, or other equipment problems. Anytime equipment on your loading dock sustains damage you should make it a priority to replace or repair it right away. Even if the damage seems minimal, ask a warehouse equipment specialist to check it out so you know it’s still secure.
Dock security may feel like another item on your long to-do list at the warehouse, but imagine how you’ll feel if your loading dock’s security vulnerabilities lead to lost property—and lost profits. The security changes you make today could protect your employees and your bottom line.
Loading dock security needs to be a top priority at your warehouse if you want to avoid preventable property loss. Contact a warehouse equipment supplier for more information about ways to enhance security at your warehouse’s loading dock.