The Fatal Seas: Part 1

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It is a given that some occupations at sea such as fishing in remote areas are accompanied by a significant risk of injury or death. Television shows such as Deadliest Catch have brought those real life dangers into the living rooms of people around the world. 

What isn't so well known is just how ordinary many of the dangers facing maritime workers are. Working to accomplish an ordinary task can quickly turn into a maritime worker fighting for his or her life.

In this three part series, we will examine the longshoring and marine injury categories identified by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA): 

  • Vehicular Accidents
  • Falls/Drowning Accidents
  • Material Handling Accidents

Vehicular Accidents At Sea

According to the OSHA report and case studies, examples of fatal vehicular accidents in the longshoring and marine industry include workers being struck by:

  • Powered industrial trucks (PIT) due to a lack of warnings signals, missing safety devices, and an obstructed forward view
  • A tractor trailer operating in the same lane as a lasher
  • A container truck operating in a high traffic area
  • The exploding wheel of a forklift truck
  • A steering column after semi tractor jackknifed and tipped over
  • A top loader while working as a clerk and spotter
  • Moving railcars on a terminal

As you can see from these examples, maritime fatalities can and do occur in completely avoidable vehicular accidents. These are not fatalities caused by high seas, inclement weather and acts of God; they are incidents that could have been avoided through the proper use of safety equipment, taking the time to pay attention, and ensuring workers are properly trained to operate vehicles and equipment in a marine terminal.

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    Stay tuned for part 2 of this series highlighting the dangers facing maritime workers such as seamen and longshoremen.

    Until next time, stay safe out there.