We've said it before and we'll say it again: far too many seamen and longshoreman workers are injured or killed in preventable accidents, and we hope that putting this issue under the microscope will lead to fewer tragedies.
We know that occupations such as deep sea fishing and underwater welding are inherently dangerous but, according to OSHA, a staggering number of workers are injured as a result of vehicular accidents, falls and drowning accidents, and material handling accidents.
In part 3 of this series, we go in depth on material handling accidents.
According to OSHA's "fatal facts" on Longshoring and Marine Terminals, workers have been injured or killed in the following ways:
- Struck by falling parts while working beneath a turbogenerator
- Struck by falling aluminum t-bar improperly secured on a crane
- Crushed by press machine as it tilted on its side
- Crushed when standing beneath a load suspended by an incorrect clamp
- Struck by a spreader bar that disengaged from a bridge crane
- Crushed by an improperly stacked slabs of steal
- Crushed by toppling stack of crates during a forklift operation
- Struck by toppling paper rolls being loaded into the hold of a ship
- Struck by partially suspended steel rails that were swinging
- Struck by shifting lumber improperly secured in the ship's hold
- Crushed as dump truck trailer carrying wet scrap bauxite tipped over
- Struck by a suspended container during a load-out operation
- Struck by a container knocked off a ship during cargo handling
These accidents are awful no matter how you look at them. But, if you take the time to compare them you likely notice a pattern. Terms like "partially" and "improperly secured' rear their ugly head again and again. The real tragedy is that these are preventable accidents.
Routine operations such as loading and handling materials, should not result in severe injuries and death.
The good news is that this doesn't have to continue. If workers focus and employers alike focus on safety and follow all OSHA regulations, the fatal seas can become a part of the past.