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Marine Terminal Accidents

Marine terminals are busy yards where workers transport cargo that was shipped overseas on large cargo ships. When workers get to the marine terminals, there is normally a lot of activity with workers running through the roads, cargo moving on cranes overhead, and vehicles moving through the yards. Because of the fast-paced activity, there is a high danger for accidents in these marine terminals. One of the biggest dangers in marine terminals is traffic accidents. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 15 fatalities in the cargo handling industry in 2005. Eight of those deaths were transportation accidents that happened at the terminal.

Factors Contributing to Traffic Accidents at Marine Terminals

Many different factors can contribute to an accident at a marine terminal.

Some of the most common of these factors are:

  • Driving obstacles
  • Weather conditions
  • Inadequate Lighting
  • Inadequate traffic controls
  • Unsafe equipment
  • Condition of driving surfaces
  • Reckless vehicle operation
  • Shift changes
  • Fatigue
  • Substance abuse
  • Lack of communication
  • Lack of training
  • Driver distractions
  • Welding

At marine terminals, the roads are typically paved. While this can prevent vehicle turnovers, it can also cause the surface to become slick and slippery when the wet cargo boxes or sea spray coats the road. Over the years, paving material can settle and create potholes and sinkholes so it is important that hazards are repaired immediately.

Preventing Traffic Accidents at Marine Terminals

OSHA created a list of suggestions to reduce the possibility of traffic accidents at marine terminals. The federal administration believes that the following efforts could revolutionize the safety of marine terminals for workers.

  • Traffic Controls
    With traffic controls in place, pedestrians are better protected, and drivers will operate at safe speeds. OSHA requires that all marine terminals have stop signs at the main entrances and exits of structures, and have stop signs posted at blind intersections. Also, vehicular routes and parking areas should be established, identified, and used when necessary. There should also be signs warning of pedestrian crossing areas to protect workers that may be on foot.

  • Vehicle Selection & Maintenance
    Supervisors should make sure that all vehicles near the terminal are safe for use. OSHA requires that employers only use vehicles with working horns, alarms, brakes, mirrors, alarms, and warning devices. Vehicles need to be maintained carefully, and all vehicles should not be modified unless the employer has written permission to do so.

  • Safety Checks
    All safety devices should not be removed, and employers are supposed to check all marine terminal vehicles every single day. The employers are also supposed to train employees to recognize any vehicle damage and deficiencies to a supervisor so that the vehicle can be taken care of. All vehicles should be checked to make sure that the speedometer, windshield wipers, steering, mirrors, seat belts, and other essential vehicle components are in working order.

  • Parking
    OSHA recommends that employers allow private vehicle parking in designated areas, but penalize anyone who parks away from these designated posts. Employees should never park in traffic lanes, in spaces that could be in an operator's blind spot, or in the path of a crane. Chassis should never be parked in a place where the chassis tongue could protrude.

  • Safe Driving
    On both private and public roads, drivers need to be extremely careful. In marine terminals, the busy activity and constant movement call for even safer drivers. All intersections need to be kept clear, and drivers should never carry loads that are too high on a yard tractor. Also, workers need to remember to stay on designated lanes and avoid taking shortcuts. Drivers should be aware of all activity going on in the terminal and of pedestrians in the area.

  • Safe Operation of Vehicles
    Many of the vehicles in marine terminals are not just cars. They are tractors, forklifts, chasses, or other large vehicles. To preserve safety, workers should be familiar with their vehicle and understand all operating procedures.

  • Repair Work & Welding
    A lot of times workers will weld at the marine terminals. The sparks can distract drivers or bling them because of the brightness. Employers need to communicate with personnel about the location of welding operations so that employees won't enter the area unprotected or become blinded when approaching the bright welding activities.

  • Walking Safety
    Pedestrians must also do their part to promote safety out on the marine terminals. Anyone on foot should make sure that their movements are predictable, and must avoid placing items on rolling or moving equipment. Pedestrians should also be aware of driver's blind spots and make sure not to walk or stand in these locations.

If you have been injured in a vehicle accident then you can contact Arnold & Itkin LLP!

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