Insurer TT Club is highlighting the dangers to dockworkers from accidents involving heavy equipment
in a recent publication.
For example, it said lift trucks were involved in 30 percent of the
bodily injury claims analyzed, mainly the result of trucks reversing
into people. The installation of anti-collision devices could
potentially have saved $30 million and prevented 51 workers from being
killed or suffering serious injury over the last six years.
The insurer noted that while compared to the days of breakbulk shipping "terminal facilities are now far more sparsely populated, risks have arguably increased. Hand trucks have typically been replaced by a variety of sizeable industrial machines. Despite improved information systems and training, together with development of personal protective gear and a strengthening safety culture, where benchmarked ‘loss time injury’ statistics are available, the containerized industry seems to lag behind other comparable industries, such as mining."
The TT Club has repeatedly identified issues that contribute to major injuries and fatalities occurring at port and terminal facilities. "Accidents involving large mobile handling equipment (lift trucks, reachstackers etc) result from collisions with other vehicles or striking fixed objects, overturning, as well as dropping or ’nudging’ loads onto other vehicles or pedestrians. These accidents are generally caused by driver error, but can be dramatically improved by a number of initiatives," the insurer said.
Previously, TT Club has focused on good site management, such as promoting one-way traffic flows; strictly limiting the access of vehicles and pedestrians to the yard; implementing thorough site induction procedures for external truckers and visitors; and identifying a safe area for truckers to lock/unlock twistlocks away from the terminal stacking area.
Based on research of claims that have been notified to the TT Club, and collaborating with two industry bodies - ICHCA International and the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA) - a new publication, Recommended Minimum Safety Features for Container Yard Equipment
, has been released. Following the previous campaigning for increased safety measures to address common incidents arising in quay crane operations, the three organizations have identified additional safety devices that can be implemented on yard equipment, along with other operational changes to reduce injuries and fatalities, as well as cargo, property and equipment damage.
Focused on container yard equipment, the analysis of claims data over a period of six years from operators of container terminals, yards and other container handling facilities encompassed 4,000 claims valued above $10,000, with a total cost of $341 million.
TT Club said the analysis found:
- 53 percent of the total cost of operational related claims were caused by yard equipment.
- 75 percent of the cost of injury claims in terminal facilities resulted from yard equipment accidents.
- 67 percent of costs related to fires were attributed to yard equipment.
"Despite all innovation, there remains a heavy concentration of avoidable incidents; up to 1,600 claims amounting to $130 million resulted from such incidents. Equally, it was recognized that changes to operational procedures, additional training and/or fitting safety equipment to machinery could significantly reduce this bill," the insurer said. - Chris Dupin