Patent Issued for Safety Gate for Loading Dock Lift (USPTO 10011470)

Journal of Engineering |

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventor Conway, Christopher J. (Wilmot, NH), filed on , was published online on .

The patent's assignee for patent number 10011470 is Mezzanine Safeti-Gates Inc. (Essex, MA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Field of the Invention

"This invention is generally directed to loading dock lifts and more specifically to safety barriers for such loading dock lifts.

"Background of the Invention

"Loading dock lifts have a variety of applications involving the transfer of cargo between an elevated truck bed and a depot floor. A typical loading dock lift includes a lift platform and apparatus for moving the lift platform between an upper position aligned with a truck bed and a lower position in which the lift platform is aligned with the depot floor. Cargo transfers during loading and unloading operations from the truck occur at a 'front' side of the loading dock lift which is closely adjacent the truck bed. A 'back' side of the lift platform is parallel to and spaced from the 'front' side. When the lift platform is at a lowered position, cargo can be transferred between the depot floor and the lift platform at the back side. 'Left' and 'right' sides of the lift platform extend between the front and back sides of the lift platform, 'left' and 'right' being referenced when viewing the loading dock lifts from the back side of the lift platform toward the truck.

"For purposes of this invention, 'cargo' may comprise a variety of goods that have different sizes, shapes and weights. Generally speaking a lift platform is useful in elevating cargo from the depot floor to an upper level corresponding to a truck bed level to facilitate the transfer of freight onto the truck bed. That is, when freight is to be loaded onto a truck, the freight is transferred onto the lift platform over the back side at the ground or factory floor level. Then the lift platform and any cargo loaded on the lift platform elevates until the lift platform comes into an essentially coplanar alignment with the truck bed whereby cargo can transfer to the truck bed past the lift platform front side.

"During an off-loading operation, an empty lift platform elevates to be in an essentially vertical alignment with the truck bed whereupon cargo can be moved from the truck bed onto the elevated lift platform past the front side. Then the loaded lift platform lowers to the factory floor level whereupon the cargo can be moved from the lift platform to the depot floor at the back side of the loading dock lift.

"Personnel may ride on a loading dock lift during displacement of the lift platform. Consequently it is important that such loading dock lifts minimize the possibility of a person's sustaining an injury by making a misstep and possibly falling from the lift platform in an elevated position.

"Many loading dock lifts include fixed side barriers along each side that prevent an individual from inadvertently walking off the lift platform along each side. When the upper surface of a lift platform is coplanar with the factory floor, there is little risk of personal injury by walking past the front side because the front side essentially is at the same level as the factory floor and is adjacent the truck bed. However, when the lift platform is elevated and absent a barrier across the back end of the lift platform, there is greater risk of personal injury due to a misstep because a person could fall along with the cargo being loaded on or off the truck at the back side of the lift platform.

"Prior art lift platforms may include a barrier spanning the back side of the lift platform for providing protection during operations while the lift platform is being elevated or lowered or is at the elevated position. A common prior art approach uses a chain or other removable barrier that personnel attach and detach when the lift platform is lowered and attach prior to elevating the lift platform. However, such attaching and detaching steps constitute extra work that personnel may overlook while performing loading and unloading operations even recognizing that a failure to install this barrier poses a risk of injury. Consequently, such barriers along back side the lift platform still pose a risk to personnel of inadvertently walking off the lift platform while it is elevated."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "Therefore it is an object of this invention to provide a safety gate for a loading dock lift that provides a barrier at any time the lift platform is elevated from the factory floor.

"Another object of this invention is to provide a safety gate that closes automatically without effort by personnel.

"Still another object of this invention is to provide a safety gate that is economical to install

"In accordance with this invention a safety barrier for a loading dock lift includes a lift platform that moves between a bottom position and an upper position. The safety barrier comprises a sleeve attached to the lift platform extending along a vertical axis. A gate has a barrier attached to an upper portion of a shaft wherein a bottom portion of the shaft extends through and is rotatable within the sleeve. The sleeve includes a guide that is shaped to define open and closed positions of said gate and the shaft includes a pin at a position along the shaft that extends through the guide, wherein when a pin interacts with the guide in the closed position, the gate is closed and when the pin interacts with the guide in the open position, the gate can be opened."

For additional information on this patent, see: Conway, Christopher J.. Safety Gate for Loading Dock Lift. U.S. Patent Number 10011470, filed , and published online on . Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Business, Mezzanine Safeti-Gates Inc.

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