Wheel Chocks: What They Are and When to Use Them


The loading dock is your business’ gateway – connecting you with customers and partners across the globe. While this vital tool is necessary for many distributors, it can be a hazardous location for employees. 25% of warehouse injuries take place at the loading dock, including injuries due to unsecured vehicles and trailer creep. 

Parking brakes aren’t always enough to prevent vehicle movement. To avoid costly and dangerous injuries at the loading dock, distributors utilize wheel chocks to secure vehicles in place. Wheel chocks are small wedges made of rubber, plastic, or metal. They are designed to be placed behind or in front of a vehicle’s tire to prevent rolling or movement. 

However, knowing when you are required to use wheel chocks can be complicated. With two government agencies that have varying regulations overseeing commercial vehicles at loading docks, you may not know what you must do. To help shine some light on this topic, let’s take a closer look at wheel chocks and when you need to use them. 


When Do I Need to Use Wheel Chocks?

There are two federal agencies that deal with vehicle safety at loading docks - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). While OSHA is responsible for keeping US workers safe while on the job, FMCSA is responsible for specific regulations related to commercial motor vehicles and their drivers. Each agency has unique rules when determining if a vehicle is required to use wheel chocks. Read on to see how each agency determines the use of wheel chocks and how that relates to your operation. 


OSHA Wheel Chock Regulations

OSHA has straightforward policies regarding wheel chocks. They believe all transport vehicles and trailers should use them to keep employees and cargo safe. OSHA, however, cannot enforce chocking regulations on every commercial motor vehicle – as that is the responsibility of the FMCSA. Some exceptions apply to this rule, however. OSHA has jurisdiction over all intrastate motor vehicles such as those used in the workplace and on non-public roads. These vehicles would be required by law to use wheel chocks, including:

  • Sand and Gravel haulers.
  • Agriculture haulers.
  • Logging vehicles.
  • Non-commercial transport vehicle
  • Commercial vehicles not used in interstate commerce.

While this may mean certain commercial vehicles are exempt from OSHA policy, many distributors will still have to abide by OSHA regulation 1910.178(k)(1) which requires trucking industry wheel chocks to be placed under rear wheels to avoid accidental movement while being boarded.


FMCSA Wheel Chock Regulations

The FMCSA has its own chocking regulations for commercial vehicles. According to the FMCSA, air-powered brake units are enough to keep a commercial motor vehicle from accidentally moving during the loading and unloading process. The FMCSA has exceptions to this rule, requiring certain commercial vehicles to use wheel chocks. This includes:

  • Agricultural commodity trailers.
  • Converter dollies.
  • Heavy haulers.
  • Pulpwood trailer.

While wheel chocks are not required for every commercial vehicle, it is generally accepted as best practice to chock your trailer wheels during the loading and unloading process to avoid workplace injury.  Federal safety standards are considered the bare minimum when it comes to safety. Accidents do happen. Wheel chocks are a great tool to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you.


Protect Your Employees and Stay OSHA Compliant with Wheel Chocks by Durable

Wheel chocks are an essential tool to prevent vehicles from accidentally moving during the loading or unloading of cargo. Already using wheel chocks? Don’t forget to refresh and replenish them every spring after months of reduced loading dock maintenance in the winter.  With the right chocking solution, you can prevent significant damage and injury to your product and your employees.

That’s why you need a trusted industry expert like Durable. Durable offers a variety of wheel chocks and accessories for vehicles of all sizes, including loading trucks, trailers, and other heavy equipment. If you’re looking for a trusted wheel chock partner that prioritizes quality and service, give us a call at 1(800) 537-1603 or contact us online to find the right chocking solution for your business.