Cargo Handling Terminal Accidents - Global Trade Magazine
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  June 15th, 2015 | Written by

Cargo Handling Terminal Accidents

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  • It is preventable human action that is the cause of these ‘one in a million’ chance occurrences
  • 82 percent of port and terminal sector accidents can be attributed to human error
  • Lift trucks, quay cranes, yard cranes and straddle carriers created 9,500 claims, seven years, $425 million tota

At last month’s Trans Middle East Conference in Doha, Qatar, Julien Horn, TT Club’s Middle East regional executive and director of TTMS (Gulf), laid emphasis on the role human error plays in creating damaging incidents at cargo handling terminals and other facilities.

As 82 percent of accidents in the port and terminal sector can be attributed to human error, the TT Club encourages counter measures to combat these risks, including professional training and installation of safety technology.

The Club’s research covers over 9,500 claims, made over the last seven years, of value in excess of $10,000 and over $425 million total. Of the claims made, 20 percent involve lift-trucks, 18 percent quay cranes and another 18 percent involve yard cranes or straddle carriers. While this data can guide operators in where best to concentrate their risk planning, it is the root causes of accidents that urge attention be paid to.

“The prime concern is one of culture,” declares Horn, “There must be a ‘safety first’ running through the work ethic of all terminal personnel throughout the Middle East, and indeed the world as whole.” Through a detailed examination of historical claims, TT Club has found numerous examples of a lack in safety awareness among terminal personnel ranging from a lack of knowledge of machinery operations, prohibited boundaries, and wrongly identified weights or cargoes in containers.

Preventative measures may include quay crane boom anti-collision devices and adequate crane braking systems, regular equipment maintenance regimes, fire prevention systems, adoption of best practice in packing and handling of cargo and appropriate processing of dangerous goods.

“We often hear descriptions of incidents as ‘a freak accident’ or ‘just bad luck’, it is preventable human action that is the cause of these ‘one in a million’ chance occurrences”, adds Horn. “Good, consistent and diligent training regimes are clearly a fundamental building block in eradicating incidents that can result in serious bodily injury and sadly, in some cases, death. But at the heart of a successful risk management policy is the attitude that safety is everyone’s responsibility.”