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August 10, 2012
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA releases updated "Tool Shed" directive on procedures for eliminating
workplace hazards in the marine cargo handling industry

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a revised directive* providing enforcement guidance for inspections of longshoring operations and at marine terminals, also known as the marine cargo handling industry. The directive is aimed at eliminating workplace hazards in the industry by addressing updated requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) and the safe operation of Vertical Tandem Lifts (VTLs).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, seven workers died and more than 2,900 were injured performing marine cargo handling operations in 2010. OSHA is committed to reducing and eliminating these worker injuries, illnesses and fatalities by conducting focused interventions in the industry.

The revised directive:

  • clarifies PPE that employers must provide at no cost to their workers, when employers must pay for replacement PPE, and when employers are not required to pay for PPE;
  • provides information and guidance on VTLs, both on the regulations and the recent court ruling on a challenge by industry to those regulations;
  • includes changes to the Marine Terminals and Safety and Health Regulations for Longshoring provisions based on Phase III of the Standards Improvement Project;
  • incorporates the settlement agreement between the National Grain and Feed Association Inc. and OSHA;
  • updates answers to commonly asked maritime cargo handling questions; and
  • delivers marine cargo handling safety and health information in a Web-based format with electronic links.

The marine cargo handling industry is regulated primarily by the Marine Terminals standards (29 CFR Part 1917) and the Longshoring standards (29 CFR Part 1918). The new "Tool Shed" directive applies to the enforcement of these standards and is available on OSHA's Maritime Industry Safety and Health Topics page, along with maritime compliance information, standards and outreach training resources.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit


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