Employees performing Ro-Ro operations during the night shift were exposed to the hazard of being struck by a container on a chassis.
Containers of various lengths are loaded onto a barge during a Ro-Ro operation.
Activity at time of incident:
An employee was working in a lane where vehicles were backing up.
Longshoremen are performing a Ro-Ro operation aboard a barge at night. The barge has three decks, with vehicle lanes divided by concrete rub rails. During a regular night shift, the crew consists of 19 drivers, about 30 longshoreman, three supervisors (one per deck), and one maintenance supervisor. Containers of varying sizes are loaded during the operation, ranging in length from 20 to 53 feet. Additionally, some of the trucks' tires blocked some of the lights that were placed along the side of the barge affecting the actual intensity of the illumination. The longshoreman on deck use their hands, whistle, hard hat and/or flashlights to notify the truck drivers of their position.
At the time of the incident, a longshoreman assisting with Ro-Ro operations was working in the lane on the third deck as a truck driver hauling a 53-foot-long container started backing up. At one point, while backing up, the driver noticed a hard hat on the ground, and believed it had been placed there by the hook-up man to indicate where the truck driver should stop. The driver continued to back up but stopped after feeling a bump. While backing up, the truck struck and killed the longshoreman working in the lane.
The victim was not wearing a high visibility vest at the time of the incident. Although employees were provided with high visibility vests, they were not required to wear them. The lighting was so poor in the area where the victim was struck that the supervisor had to use a flashlight to identify the victim. Although employees were provided with strobe lights to put on their shirt sleeves, it did not solve the visibility problem at the terminal and its use was optional. The truck's back-up alarm was working but may not have been heard due to the noise generated by the Ro-Ro operations.
Truck drivers had not received initial or refresher training.
This hazard could have been prevented if the employer had ensured that employees working on decks during Ro-Ro operations were clearly visible to the driver. The employer could have ensured this visibility by providing and requiring the use of high visibility vests with retro reflective material, strobe lights, or equivalent protection, and by requiring adequate illumination of the deck areas. Additionally, the employer should have ensured that there were clear communication signals between the truck driver and the employees on the deck, and that pedestrians remained out of the truck lanes at all times during Ro-Ro operations.
Truck drivers should be trained in the operation of vehicles used in Ro-Ro operations to prevent unsafe practices.Back to Top
The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.