OSHA Guidance To Help Prevent Maritime Traffic Accidents

OSHA has a new guidance document out that aims to help the maritime industry avoid marine terminal traffic accidents and prevent or reduce work-related fatalities and injuries.

“ This new guidance will help employers design and implement a traffic safety program for vehicles and pedestrians. A traffic safety program should address marine terminal traffic hazards and meet OSHA's standards,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin Foulke Jr.

The guidance document Traffic — Safety in Marine Terminals — was recommended by the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health in March 2004. It is not a standard or regulation and it carries no new legal obligations. Rather, it focuses on the factors that contribute to traffic-related injuries and identifies measures to prevent them, such as safety checks, vehicle selection and maintenance, traffic controls, safe operation of vehicles and safe driving techniques.

According to OSHA, traffic accidents are a serious problem at marine terminals, where heavy equipment is used to load and unload ships and move freight from place to place in the terminal. The work is fast-paced, is conducted at any time of the day or year and often is performed in bad weather. Anyone walking in a marine terminal also is endangered by vehicular traffic.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 15 fatalities in the marine cargo industry in 2005, eight of which were the result of transportation incidents.

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