Dock workers are skilled employees who work in a fast-paced, physically intense work environment. They work in a variety of facilities that require freight services, such as retailers, meat and poultry processing facilities, and companies in the industrial and construction fields. Their main duties include verifying the contents of freight shipments, comparing invoices for shipments to the actual products or materials received, preparing reports such as shipping orders and inventories, and weighing and documenting of outgoing shipments. They are also in charge of performing recordkeeping for damages or other inventory discrepancies, bringing damages or other shipment concerns to management, contacting other parties, such as freight companies or wholesalers to dictate instructions for outgoing and incoming parcels, and using a sorting, organization, or inventory system to process goods.
Skills necessary to excel in dock worker positions include the ability to use the appropriate in-house inventory program, if applicable. They must also have the physical strength and endurance to lift, move, and sort shipments. They also may need a forklift license and experience, as well as experience with freight trailers and pallets. Previous related experience may be required or preferred. Dock workers should have the ability to communicate well with co-workers, freight carriers, and management, pay excellent attention to detail, and have basic math and counting skills. They need to have the ability to follow instructions and use handheld computing systems for the scanning and verification of shipments and inventory.
Dock workers work a variety of shifts and schedules. Some facilities may require work during regular business hours, but other places may have evening, overnight, and weekend requirements for their workers.
Dock Worker Tasks
Operate motorized and manual equipment including forklifts, pallet trucks, and hand trucks to handle freight.
Verify that documentation matches freight and document incoming and outgoing freight.
Unload, sort, stack, and identify all products to maximize space and weight distribution.