Marine cargo industry workers are at risk of being hit by top / side handlers when they are working in marine terminals. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is important to be aware of the traffic patterns of moving vehicles in order to avoid collisions and injuries. If drivers, top / side handlers, and on-foot workers all make an effort to be aware of their surroundings it could eliminate the possibility of serious accidents.
Drivers can avoid top / side handler injuries by using caution when they approach a gap in a stack or bay. The driver may not be aware that a top / side handler is in operation, and may back into the lane. When drivers aren't cautious, they may not notice the top / side handler until it is too late, causing a collision. It is also important that drivers yield the right of way to top / side handlers that are backing up and provide plenty of room for them to do so.
Drivers may even need to stop and wait until the top / side handler crosses the travel lane before proceeding. The OSHA has created speed and traffic regulations for cargo ships, and drivers need to serve these in order to minimize the possibility of a top / side handler injury. Drivers can also enhance safety by using that all horns, back-up alarms, flashing lights, mirrors, and seatbelts are operational.
Anyone in a vehicle on a cargo ship also needs to look out for pedestrians in the area and keep voice contact or eye contact with them if possible. Spotters and clerks should be present on the risk to make sure that the drivers are not going to run over a pedestrian crossing in front of or behind the vehicle. It is important that drivers maintain a distance of at least 20 feet in between vehicles in check-in, check-out loading/discharging lines, and roadability or at any time when employees might work behind other vehicles in line. Drivers also need to be prepared to stop at any moment because there may be top / side handlers or pedestrians in their lane.
The individuals who operate top / side handlers also need to be extremely careful when they are working with this machine. The drivers should always back up slowly and smoothly. They should never cut across, between, or through bays. It is also important that top / side handlers guide the lift so that the container that is being handled does not strike another container in the stack.
Pedestrians should never step out from a stack into vehicular traffic, as this can result in an accident. Also, on-foot workers need to stay out of designated traffic lanes and instead stay in personnel safety zones when working. The OSHA recommends that pedestrians maintain eye and voice contact with equipment operators so that they can be sure the operator knows their location. Top / side handlers have many blind spots.
If you were harmed by a top / side handler when working on a cargo ship, you deserve compensation. You will want an attorney to help you investigate the situation and decide if your case has merit. You may be able to secure worker's compensation or a personal injury settlement that will cover your medical bills and damages for the pain and suffering you endured. Hire Arnold & Itkin LLP to get an offshore injury attorney on your side right away!
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