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SECTION III – MATERIAL HANDLING ACCIDENTS
Summary No. 12 – Working Beneath a Suspended Load
Struck by a suspended container during a load-out operation.
Worker was exposed to being struck by a suspended container during a load-out operation
A shore-mounted container crane was used to transfer containers from the terminal to a ship.
Activity at time of incident:
A foreman was working to restow several containers at the end of the shift. The containers were incorrectly stowed and had to be repositioned onboard the vessel.
The foreman had just released the longshore workers after finishing loading a container ship. He then noticed that several containers onboard the ship had been improperly stowed. These containers had to be repositioned before the vessel left port. Due to a stack of containers on the outboard side of the ship, the foreman had to direct the crane operator via radio (i.e., no visual contact) to lift the spreader beam over the outboard stack and to move containers adjacent to the outboard stack. The foreman could not see the spreader beam until it came into sight over the outboard stack.
[The incident was not observed directly so actions were deduced by investigation.] During the restowing operation, as the containers were being removed, the foreman climbed on top of the next container to be moved. Although it was never determined why the foreman was on top of the container, it was possible that a locking cone had fallen out and he was going to retrieve it. It was also thought that he was merely taking shortcuts across the hatch (via the container top) rather than going the longer way around.
The crane operator had just discharged a container onto the dock and proceeded to lift the spreader back over the outboard container stack on the vessel in order to attach the spreader onto the next container in the adjacent inboard container stack. The crane operator (without radio confirmation to the foreman) thought that the foreman was safely out of the way and lowered the spreader to pick up the next container. When the crane operator brought the spreader down, it crushed the foreman who was on top of the container.
When the improperly stowed containers on board the vessel were first discovered, the foreman should have recalled the longshore workers to perform the tasks associated with removing and replacing the containers. This would have allowed him to supervise the operation. The foreman was not wearing a hardhat.
Page last updated: 04/13/2010