The loading dock or loading deck is part of a stage rigging
system. Typically the loading dock is located at grid
level or just below it.
Adding or removing counterweight at the loading dock is safer and easier than loading at the stage floor. Loading docks allow scenery to be fully lowered when adding or removing weight. This not only reduces strain on the system but also eliminates the danger of falling scenery or lighting if there is a failure somewhere in the system. In addition, when the height of stacked counterweight becomes too high to safely manage, the arbor can simply lowered to a more manageable height for loading.
Many small theatres have fly systems which lack a loading dock. This is more dangerous because at some point when loading on unloading the batten or arbor the system is totally out of weight with either the arbor full of weight or the loaded batten at the grid. Not only does this put dangerous strain on the entire system, but moving the system can require several people to safely control the load. Also, when loading large amounts of weight it may become necessary to carry the weight up a ladder in order to stack it on the arbor. Obviously leaning off a ladder with a 20 or 50 pound weight isn't very safe!!
Part of the Stage Rigging metanode