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Loading dock design standards

Updated November 21, 2016

Loading docks must be designed to safely and efficiently execute the task of loading and unloading shipments brought by truck. By following the standards of loading dock design, businesses can ensure that these areas are functional for large trucks, forklifts and foot traffic.

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Loading docks must be built at a minimum of 50 feet away from utility rooms, utility mains and service entrances. To accommodate most trucks, normal loading dock height is 55 inches above grade level. A dock leveller will need to be installed in one loading dock to bridge the gap between the dock and the trailer for taller trucks. It is also crucial that the loading dock parking area is level.


A ramp from the dock to the truck parking area will expedite deliveries from vans and small trucks. A dock cover, extending at least 4 feet past the edge of the loading platform, will keep deliveries dry while loading and unloading. Similarly, dock bumpers and edge guards will protect the dock from wear and tear. The loading dock should be designed close to the freight elevator and away from the main passenger elevator.


Light fixtures should be installed in order to illuminate the inside of trailers. Additionally, air ventilation intakes should be installed no less than 25 feet away to prevent breathing in carbon monoxide. Finally, any open areas with a drop off of 4 feet or more should be roped off or blocked to prevent falls.

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About the Author

Billie Abbott

Billie Abbott is a freelance writer, producing articles for numerous websites, including ParentDish and Gadling. She specializes in topics about gardening, animals, parenting and travel.

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