Dock Worker Job Description

Dock Worker Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Are you searching for a dock worker job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a dock worker. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a dock worker.


Who is a Dock Worker?

Dock workers, also referred to as longshoremen or stevedores, are responsible for loading and unloading cargo in ports. Additionally, they are in charge of anchoring ships and preparing docks for incoming ships.

Dockworkers load and unload goods and prepare docks for arriving ships. They moor and unmoor ships upon their arrival and departure and keep precise records of damaged or lost cargo. They follow loading and unloading plans and participate in all business training programs. They erect gangways to accommodate arriving ships and ensure the ship’s spill containment boom is in good functioning condition. They carefully load and unload freight using approved material handling equipment, including forklifts, hand trucks, pallet jacks, cranes, and grain trimmers.

Dockworkers assess unloaded cargo for faults or anomalies and monitor the unloaded shipment by recording information using spreadsheets and documentation requested by management. They interact with colleagues to ensure the safe loading and unloading of goods continues and maintain the dock areas are clean and clear of debris to avoid accidents or injury. Dockworkers require a high-school certificate or equivalence including the GED and a valid forklift license as well as an ability to operate the heavy gear.


Dockworkers are skilled personnel that operates in numerous facilities that need freight services, such as meat and poultry processing facilities, merchants, organizations in the industrial and construction areas, and other fast-paced, physically difficult work settings. Their key tasks include comparing invoices for shipments to the actual items received, inspecting the contents of freight shipments, and weighing outbound shipments.

They are also in charge of doing documentation for damages or other inventory inconsistencies, contacting other parties, such as freight companies or wholesalers to give directions for departing and receiving packages, and utilizing a sorting, organizing, or inventory system to handle items.

Dockworkers work a range of shifts and schedules. Some facilities may demand labor during typical business hours, while other businesses may have evening, midnight, and weekend requirements for their staff. Skills essential to flourish in dock worker employment include utilizing the right in-house inventory software, if applicable. One must also have the physical power and endurance to lift, move, and sort cargo. Applicants may additionally require forklift certification and familiarity with freight trailers and pallets.

Dock workers are responsible for the moving of cargo and other commodities in and out of ships, trucks, trains, and other vehicles. They often operate on docks or in ports, where they utilize specialized equipment to load and unload cargo containers, trucks, and other vehicles.

Dock employees must be able to follow specific directions while working rapidly under pressure. They may also need to know how to handle specialist equipment such as forklifts or cranes.


Dock Worker Job Description

What is a dock worker job description? A dock worker job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of a dock worker in an organization. Below are the dock worker job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a dock worker job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The duties and responsibilities of a dock worker include the following;

  • Load and unload goods from ships, trucks, or railways.
  • Inspect arriving cargo for damage or flaws.
  • Record cargo weights, dimensions, contents, and other essential information on the shipping paperwork.
  • Work in unsafe settings around machinery, big weights, or sharp tools or equipment.
  • Help to unload goods from ships using forklifts or other material handling equipment.
  • Load and unload vehicles with goods using forklifts or other equipment such as pallet jacks or skids.
  • Inspect equipment for evidence of corrosion or faults that may pose safety risks.
  • Report any safety issues to management.
  • Operate cranes or other equipment to transport cargo containers between ships and storage facilities.
  • Install the gangway to accept arriving ships.
  • Ensure that the oil spill containment boom is in excellent operating condition.
  • Secure ships by tying them to the moorings.
  • Load and unload goods utilizing relevant material-handling equipment, such as forklifts, hand trucks, pallet jacks, cranes, power winches, and grain trimmers.
  • Inspect the unloaded goods for any faults or abnormalities.
  • Tally the unloaded freight and type information into spreadsheets requested by management.
  • Communicate with other Dock Workers utilizing portable radios to guarantee the safe loading and unloading of goods.
  • Ensure that the dock areas are clean and clear of debris to avoid accidents and injuries.



  • High school diploma or GED.
  • A valid forklift license.
  • Proven experience working as a dock worker.
  • Excellent physical stamina.
  • The ability to operate big machines.
  • The capacity to operate as part of a team.
  • Strong organizing abilities.
  • Effective communication abilities.
  • Detail-oriented.


Essential Skills

  • Forklift Operation: A forklift is a machine that can lift and carry large things. Dock employees must know how to use these devices so they can securely handle goods. This expertise also helps them maintain their job safe by avoiding mishaps from happening. Dock employees may learn how to handle a forklift via on-the-job training or an online course. They may also acquire certification in forklift operation, which tells prospective employers that the individual has the essential abilities to accomplish the job properly.
  • Teamwork: Teamwork is the capacity to collaborate with others constructively and beneficially. Dock workers generally operate as part of a team, therefore they must be able to interact well with their colleagues. This includes being willing to aid one another when required and respecting each other’s positions on the dock. It may also be useful for dock workers to know how to manage teams, which may entail assigning responsibilities, encouraging colleagues, and managing problems.
  • Attention to Detail: Attention to detail is a talent that may help you accomplish your work. Dock workers must be exact while handling goods and entering information about shipments, thus this ability might be valuable in your profession. You may also need to pay strict attention to safety laws and procedures, which involve attention to detail.
  • Pallet Jack Operation: Pallet jacks are enormous pieces of equipment that dock workers use to move pallets of cargo. They may be hefty and demand a lot of muscle, so dock workers must know how to operate these devices correctly. This assures the safety of both the worker and the goods they’re hauling. It also helps them do their task more effectively.
  • Inventory Management: A big component of a dockworker’s job is inventory management. They must be able to identify and monitor incoming shipments, verify that the proper things are sent out, and maintain records of all materials in storage. This demands attention to detail and an understanding of shipping processes, warehouse management, and record-keeping software.
  • Hand-Eye Coordination: Hand-eye coordination is the ability to utilize your hands and eyes together. This talent may benefit you while lifting, transporting, or stacking goods on a ship. It’s also necessary for operating machines like cranes and forklifts. You may require hand-eye coordination to swiftly respond to changes in weather conditions or situations at sea.
  • Hazmat Handling: A dock worker with hazardous handling abilities may assist protect the safety of others while working in a warehouse or shipping facility. This is because they may be responsible for ensuring that shipments are correctly labeled and wrapped to avoid contamination, which needs expertise in hazardous products. They also need to know how to handle these materials properly so they don’t mistakenly expose themselves or others to potentially dangerous compounds.
  • Customer Service: Customer service skills are vital for dock workers to have since they may engage with consumers who require assistance locating merchandise, loading their purchases, and paying for them. Having customer service skills might make it simpler for dock employees to deliver good service to the individuals visiting their job. They should also be courteous and helpful while engaging with customers so that the consumers feel comfortable and enjoy their experience at the business.
  • Tractor-trailer Operation: Tractor-trailer operation is the ability to operate tractor-trailers, which are big lorries that convey freight via road. This talent might be important for dock workers who need to carry freight from one area to another. Dock employees must have a clean driving record and an understanding of local traffic rules.
  • Driver Assistance: A dock worker has to be able to assist cars traversing the facilities and reach their precise destination. This involves knowledge of the layout of the warehouse, as well as an awareness of how to guide arriving trucks to unload their merchandise in the right spot. It’s also crucial for dock workers to know where each sort of merchandise is housed so they can steer trucks to the correct area.
  • Dock Maintenance: A thorough grasp of dock maintenance is required for a successful career as a dock worker. This skill set involves learning how to repair and maintain equipment, machinery, and other items utilized in the shipping sector. It also requires learning how to recognize possible safety dangers and take action to avoid mishaps.

Dock workers typically employ their abilities in maintenance while conducting mundane activities like cleaning or repairing devices. They may also require these abilities while diagnosing issues with complicated equipment.

  • Flexibility: Flexibility is the capacity to adjust to changing conditions. As a dock worker, you may need to adjust your routine or shift assignments if required. For example, if one of your colleagues is away and there’s an increased burden, you may have to change your timetable to guarantee that all activities are finished on time. Being adaptable may help you be more productive at work and lessen stress when unexpected changes arise.
  • Load Securement: A dock worker’s ability to secure goods is vital for assuring the safety of both the cargo and the equipment. This technique entails utilizing ropes, straps, or other materials to guarantee that goods don’t move during travel. It also entails understanding how much weight a vehicle can handle so you can appropriately load it.

Employers may give training in this area, but if they don’t, you may learn about securing goods by attending a class on shipping methods or by watching experienced employees.

  • Work Well Under Pressure: A dock worker has to be able to perform successfully under pressure. This is because they may need to fulfill deadlines for loading and unloading goods, which might demand them to operate swiftly and effectively. They also may have to cope with unanticipated events that create delays in their job, such as a mechanical malfunction or an accident on the docks.
  • Physical Strength: Physical strength is a crucial attribute for dock workers to have since it helps them to carry and move big goods. This may include goods, equipment, or other resources that may be essential to perform their work obligations. Having a strong physique also helps with completing physical jobs such as climbing ladders, standing for extended periods, and lifting boxes.
  • Shipping & Receiving: Shipping and receiving is the process of transporting products from one place to another. This involves checking on arriving shipments, storing merchandise, and preparing outbound shipments. Dock employees must have good shipping and receiving abilities so they can keep track of inventory and guarantee that outbound cargo is packaged appropriately.


How to Become a Dock Worker

  • Get your education: Obtaining a career as a dockworker does not need having formal schooling qualifications. Most need a high school diploma or GED, with fewer than 20% of employees obtaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The majority of roles will give on-the-job training for the precise skills they want you to execute. Working as a dock worker is an extremely physically demanding profession. You must have the endurance to work long hours, operate heavy machines, and be strong enough to move freight while loading and unloading shipments. Employers and unions often give apprenticeships to those who have the mental and physical ability to perform the job but not enough work experience.
  • Take certification examinations: Dockworkers typically pursue several credentials. The more certifications you hold, the greater your prospects of finding a job or having a higher earning potential. These certificates include the following:
    • OSHA safety certificate.
    • Driver’s license.
    • Double and triple endorsements.
    • Hazmat endorsement.
    • Forklift certification.
    • Non-CDL Class C license.
    • Tanker endorsement.

If you have a certain firm you’d want to work for, review the company’s specifications for dock worker employment. These prerequisites will give you a greater sense of what to anticipate while working in this particular position.

  • Pass a background and drug test: Due to the strong physical demands and possible safety dangers, many firms will do a drug test and background check before recruiting an individual for a position. Be prepared for these checks before your interview to prevent any unanticipated complications throughout the recruiting process.
  • Interview for a job: When preparing for an interview to work as a dockworker, the hiring managers or recruiters will be looking at how well you grasp the need of sticking to specified timetables and freight transfer standards. You’ll need to express the desire and enthusiasm necessary to follow written and spoken instructions and display strong time-management skills.


Where to Work as a Dock Worker

Dock workers are employed in several contexts, including ports, docks, wharves, and warehouses. They may operate inside or outdoors, in all-weather situations. The job may be physically demanding, and employees must be able to move big goods and operate in small quarters. Dock workers normally work 40 hours per week, although they may be expected to work overtime, weekends, and holidays. The job may be risky, and employees must stay attentive and follow safety protocols to prevent injury.


Dock Worker Salary Scale

The average dock worker wage in the USA is $33,149 per year or $17 per hour. Entry-level occupations start at $29,250 per year while most experienced professionals get up to $39,567 per year.

The average dock worker’s income in Australia is $54,600 per year or $28 per hour. Entry-level occupations start at $50,544 per year, while most experienced professionals earn up to $84,049 per year.

An entry-level driver dock worker (1-3 years of experience) makes an average pay of €24,867. On the other end, a senior-level driver dock worker (8+ years of experience) receives an average income of €39,215.

The average dock worker wage in Canada is $35,100 per year or $18 per hour. Entry-level occupations start at $29,250 per year, while most experienced professionals earn up to $40,950 per year.

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