Safety Tips For Container Unloading

Safety Tips For Container Unloading

  09 May 2019

Container unloading come with quite a number of safety concerns, read on below to find out what you should keep in mind when it comes to preventing accident or injury.


Be aware of the hazards

There are some hazards that are common to all container unloading jobs, and some risks that may arise from the materials or items present in the shipping box. It is important to be well aware of the potential problems that may arise when your employees or workers are container unloading. Being aware of potential issues can help employers to ensure that the proper safety training has been undertaken and that action plans are in place should anything go wrong. One wrong move with heavy, falling items can be fatal, so it’s extremely important that the health and safety of employees is put first.

Common hazards when it comes to container unloading include;

  • Slip, trips or falls
  • Injuries from the manual nature of the work and heavy items (like repetitive strain injuries)
  • Falling items
  • Falls from heights
  • Chemical spills
  • Heat or cold and exposure to dangerous environmental factors

These risks can be serious, and failure to comply with proper occupational health and safety standards can lead to serious injury or death for employees and hefty fines and legal action against negligent employers.



How do you address hazards?

So if you’re wondering what steps employers can take to ensure that employees are safe when container unloading, consider the below.


Stability and placement of items

Items should be placed to reduce the risk of injury, this means ensuring that they are stacked on stable ground, secured where possible to avoid falls and that there is enough room around them to make it possible to unpack them.


Shipping or freight storage cartons can often be either extremely hot, extremely cold and often have low lighting. This for obvious reasons creates a dangerous work environment for employees and can lead to injuries. It’s important where possible for employers to try and reduce concerns with environmental factors, such as by ensuring there is adequate lighting, heaters or air conditioning available so that employees don’t fall ill or hurt themselves.

Slip, trips and falls

To reduce opportunities for employees to injure themselves by slipping, tripping or falling it is important that workers wear the correct protective uniform and footwear. Footwear should have grip and protection from falling items. It is also important that any obstructions, spillages or unsecured items are cleared away so that people do not trip over them during the course of their work.

Dangerous chemicals

Exposure to dangerous chemicals is a real and present risk when it comes to container unloading. Not only are chemicals often shipped or freighted across borders, where they might have come loose or unsealed and could potentially expose workers, but internationally bound cargo is usually fumigated. Proper care and risk control must be taken with fumigated materials as the fumes and chemicals can be very dangerous to humans.

It is always important to check the certifications and paper work and to be aware of potential danger when it comes to container unloading. When in doubt, always exercise caution and treat it as if it has been fumigated or there are dangerous chemicals present.

Falling items

It’s common for workers to be struck by falling items that have shifted during transport when entering containers, that’s why it’s important to establish a safety process to manage the risk. The best way is usually to partially open the door to check for potential hazards, prior to employees entering and starting work.