Dock Levelers - Straightforward Answers to Common Questions


A dock leveler is the most effective way to prevent equipment damage and tragic incidents at your loading dock. In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about dock levelers, including:

  • Do I need a dock leveler, dock plate or dock board?
  • How much do dock levelers cost?
  • How long do dock levelers last?
  • How long does it take to get a dock leveler installed?
  • What are the most popular dock levelers in Northern California?
  • Can I convert a mechanical dock leveler into a hydraulic dock leveler?

Important note: the current lead time for a new dock leveler is 2-3 months. TMHNC is a preferred supplier and can often get them in 4-6 weeks, but don’t wait. If you need a dock leveler, contact us online or by phone: 

Bay Area - Livermore (510) 379-5210
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091

Can Your Business Operate Without a Dock Leveler for 2-3 Months?

Dock levelers are essential at most warehouses and distribution centers. They create a bridge between trailers of different sizes and allow for fast, safe loading and unloading.

What would happen if you didn't have your dock leveler for three months? Due to supply shortages, the current lead time for a new dock leveler (also known as a pit leveler) is 14-16 weeks. Because TMHNC is a preferred vendor, we can often get a replacement in as little as 6-8 weeks. 

In any case, now is very bad time to have your dock leveler break. That's why we're offering free dock leveler safety inspections. It only takes an hour, and you can avoid months of hassle and lost productivity. NOTE: the request form is for a complete loading dock safety inspection, but we can focus on just your dock leveler if you prefer.

Not sure if your dock leveler needs to be inspected? Read on to review signs your dock leveler may need service and how long the average dock leveler should last if well-maintained.

5 Tips to Improve Your Loading Dock Safety and Efficiency

Loading dock managers are relentless workers. They strive to meet ever-growing productivity targets and minimize downtime, invest in new material handling equipment, and hire more personnel. Their crew adheres to an aggressive loading and unloading schedule.

While productivity is top of mind, safety at the loading dock is often an afterthought. Managers are pressed into cutting corners with safety and overlook hazardous situations. But that doesn't have to be the reality for your loading dock.

How Dock Levelers Drastically Improve Loading Dock Safety

When a truck backs up to your receiving area, it’s unlikely the trailer will be at the exact same height as your loading dock. That gap between the trailer and your warehouse floor is a prime location for injury and equipment damage. 

Dock levelers, also known as edge of dock levelers or pit levelers, bridge the gap (in height and distance) between the floor and the trailer for smooth and safe loading and unloading. Learn about the most popular types of dock levelers used in the Bay Area, Central and Northern California, so you can choose the best dock leveler for your facility.

4 Signs Your Loading Dock Isn’t As Safe As You Think

A loading dock is a fast-paced and dangerous environment. Around 25% of all reported warehouse injuries occur on loading docks. Hundreds of near-misses precede each hazard. Forklift accidents cost employers an average of $48,000 per injury and $1,390,000 per death, according to the National Safety Council.

As a manager, putting safety first should be your top priority. In this article, we will cover four common and often overlooked signs of a hazardous loading dock.

Dock Locks and Vehicle Restraints

The loading area between the truck and the warehouse is one of the most hazardous areas for forklift operators and warehouse employees. Thousands of workers are injured or killed each year due to trailer creep, premature truck departures and sloppy placement. 


It’s a sad fact that safety measures aren’t considered until
after a serious accident occurs. Many loading dock accidents can be prevented with a simple dock lock, also known as a vehicle restraint. A dock lock is inexpensive protection against a worst-case scenario, such as a forklift falling off the dock. It takes up very little space, and you may be able to get a discount on your insurance for being proactive about loading dock safety.

Loading Dock Seals and Shelters - Small Cost, Big Value


Sealing systems such as dock seals and shelters are a relatively low-cost investment that offer significant benefits in energy cost savings and loading dock safety. By enclosing the gap between the trailer and the dock door, parked trailers become secure, climate-controlled extensions of your facility. The right sealing system prevents outside weather (heat, cold, rain/snow) from entering your facility and damaging cargo. In addition to reducing heating and cooling costs, you maintain a clean, dry dock area and reduce the chance of a slip-and-fall accident. An enclosed dock area also means pests and vermin stay outside where they belong.

Learn more about the different options for loading dock sealing systems:

Dock Levelers Vs. Edge of Docks

Dock levelers and edge of docks are used to bridge the gap between a truck trailer and the warehouse dock. Typically, there is an 8-10 inch gap between the edge of the dock and the trailer due to rubber or steel bumpers used to protect the dock from potential damage from trucks.

In order to load or unload a trailer, the warehouse needs a bridge to drive a forklift, pallet jack, or other material handling equipment over the gap. This is where a dock leveler (aka pit leveler) or edge-of-docks comes into play.

Loading Dock Safety - 3 Essential Tips

Loading docks are a hub of activity. Forklift accidents can happen anywhere, but weather, moving trucks and other factors make loading docks one of the more hazardous areas for forklifts.

Common forklift accidents on loading docks include:

The lift truck falling off the edge of the dock
Employees being struck by a forklift
Skidding or slipping due to wet or icy conditions
Trailer separation (the truck pulls away with a forklift still inside)

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