Easy wins for traffic management

Keep truck drivers safe by following best practice procedures. Credit - National Renewable Energy Lab
Keep truck drivers safe by following best practice procedures. Credit - National Renewable Energy Lab
Laurence Jones, TT Club
Laurence Jones, TT Club
Industry Database

COMMENT: A number of recent fatalities resulting from mobile equipment accidents have again highlighted the need to improve traffic management in terminals, writes Laurence Jones.

Traffic management issues contribute to 85% of the costs of major injuries and fatalities occurring at port and terminal facilities. This is one of the findings from an analysis of such claims insured by the TT Club globally over the last five years.

Accidents involving large mobile handling equipment (lift trucks, reachstackers and so on) result from collisions with pedestrians, other vehicles or striking fixed objects, overturning, as well as dropping or ‘nudging’ loads on to other vehicles or pedestrians. These accidents are generally caused by driver error, but their number can be dramatically reduced by implementing good traffic management.

The Club’s analysis concludes that focusing loss prevention on four specific issues will substantially mitigate the risks. Effective traffic management procedures should promote:

One-way traffic flows

Implementing one-way traffic flows has been shown to reduce collisions dramatically. There is a common perception that this will reduce productivity, but experience of those facilities that have implemented one-way traffic flows shows that not only does the number of accidents fall, but productivity increases. It may not be possible to have one-way flows everywhere, but this should be done wherever possible.

Limiting vehicles and pedestrians in the terminal yard

Limiting the number of vehicles and pedestrians allowed into the terminal yard reduces the number of accidents. Private vehicles should never be allowed into the working area of the terminal. Only company vehicles that have high visibility strips or colour and/or flashing lights should be used to move people and equipment around the facility. Procedures should be adopted to limit the need for staff to be in the yard. Pedestrians should not be allowed on the terminal at any time. Ship’s crew must not be allowed to walk through the terminal. A segregated access way or a vehicle should be provided for personnel access to and from the ship. Terminal staff should travel to any necessary locations in company vehicles. Security personnel should not be positioned on foot in the terminal; CCTV should be utilised and security personnel located in a control room.

Site induction procedures for external truckers and visitors

The majority of serious injuries on a terminal occur to external truckers; often it is because they do not know or follow procedures. A site induction procedure should be provided to anyone entering the facility. The induction should cover emergency plans, where to go and where not to go, etc. A sign at the gate is not considered adequate. The ideal is to provide face-to-face training for all external truckers similar to the training given to terminal staff. The trucker can then be given photo ID stating the date he was inducted. Access to the facility thereafter should not be permitted without the ID. Refresher training should always be provided periodically and after any significant infrastructure change.

A safe area for truckers to lock/unlock twistlocks – not in the terminal stacking area

Truckers should not alight from their cab anywhere within the terminal stacking yard where cranes, straddle carriers or lift trucks are operating. The only time a trucker should alight from the truck cab is to lock and unlock twistlocks. This procedure must not be performed in the stacking yard; each facility should provide a safe area, for example adjacent to the main gate, where only external trucks are allowed to stop briefly to carry out this task. Further, clear and safe procedures should be adopted to keep the trucker safe while a container is being removed from or loaded onto the trailer/chassis. Generally, the trucker should remain in his cab. The only exception to this is straddle operations, where the driver should alight from his truck and stand in a designated safe area while the straddle is loading or removing the container.

The above four steps focus on systems and procedures to prevent injuries. New technologies can also help prevent collisions and resulting injuries. ICHCA, TT Club and PEMA are currently preparing a joint publication Collision prevention @ Ports and Terminals which will identify the different collision prevention devices available for different situations. It will be available in the second quarter of 2018. Remember though, these collision prevention devices are a back-up and should not be used in isolation; the systems and procedures detailed above must also be implemented.

Laurence Jones is director of global risk assessment at TT Club and deputy chairman of ICHCA International.

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