Workers who are involved in marine cargo handling are almost constantly around moving vehicles and equipment. If drivers and pedestrians are not extremely careful, then this can lead to serious injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers needed to make sure that all employees are in a safe work environment by providing traffic lanes and personnel safety zones for workers.
Vehicle accidents often happen when an employee is coning, signaling, or working on foot. The best way to avoid serious injury in these accidents is to create definitive traffic lanes on the ships and rigs so that drivers know where to operate their machines or vehicles. This will also help workers avoid standing in lanes where they could be hit.
The OSHA says that all traffic lanes should be clearly marked and should be wide enough to protect all workers. The lanes should also be wide enough to accommodate the largest piece of equipment that is used on the rig. This may be a straddle carrier, a bomb cart, a vehicle, or another machine. When bomb carts are being used, supervisors need to relocate any coning operations or cone bins.
According to OSHA, drivers should be carefully directed when towing large amounts of cargo so that the equipment won't extend into traffic cranes and so that drivers can align their equipment accurately under the crane. Semi-tractors should be driving in traffic lanes so that the haulage equipment won't extend into personnel safety zones.
OSHA also says that there should be personnel safety zones on both sides of every lane where workers can stand and be sure that they will not be hit. These zones need to be wide enough to accommodate cone boxes and need to provide adequate space for a worker to walk around cone boxes without walking into the traffic lanes. The personnel zones and traffic zones should be free of any hatch covers that can cause a trip or slip and fall accident.
Supervisors or cargo ship owners need to make sure that specialty or project cargo can be transported on the flatbeds, "mafis," or low boys that may be needed at the scene. Many times these special loads will extend into personnel safety zones, so specific instructions will need to be announced. A traffic pattern under the crane should be established so that longshoremen will be aware and familiar with the pattern and know when to avoid being near machinery and vehicles. If there is a deviation in the pattern, it is important that a supervisor communicates this to the on-foot longshoremen. Talk to Arnold & Itkin LLP if you have been injured in a struck-by accident.
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