Even when you take all necessary steps of precaution to make a marine loading work environment safe by using all best practices and tips, there are instances when the work environment can change on-the-fly causing previously unforeseen hazards. There are a few top factors to be on the lookout for on an everyday basis. These factors can change daily, and even hourly, so being aware of the main factors will help you keep yourself, your employees and your organization out of harm’s way.
In no order of importance, these top five factors are ones that you should keep a lookout for and stay ahead of as best as you can:
- Weather Patterns and Changes
Mother Nature can be a fickle one. Keeping an eye out on weather conditions, tide schedules and even storms out at sea can help you adjust your daily operations to be safer. Even if the weather forecast is not 100% accurate, because we all know that it never is wrong, it is better to have taken extra precautions to be safe rather than have more hazards than normal.
- Worker Clumsiness
You may think it is impossible to predict this, however, there are a few ways to help you work around your employee’s characteristics that could result in an unsafe work environment. Tripping is the top reason accidents happen in a marine environment. Trippings can be caused by slippery conditions, items left in someone’s walking path, running near an edge, or even just tripping over one’s feet. A great way to prevent this is to make sure employees have the proper shoes on their feet such as non-slip soles with shoelaces checked and tied. And as simple as it sounds, simply discourages goofing around on the job site. Being distracted from goofing around is a quick and simple way to cause injury.
- Product Containment
Chances are you are working with, or around, a product that could contaminate the water below. We all know that contaminated water causes bad repercussions from not only lost product, but also on an environmental scale. The clean-up of water based contamination is not easy and can certainly be costly. Taking steps to implement spill containment prevention is the best way to safeguard the water below.
- Drowning Prevention
Making sure that all workers have the ability to swim is not always the only way to prevent drownings. OSHA requires1 the presence of “U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket or buoyant work vests.” Other safety equipment present such as ladders, ropes, and life rings should also be considered as standard. Having options will help when non-predictable factors such as current strength, water temperature, and debris come into the picture.
- Ship or Barge Stabilization and Securement
How a vessel is tied down (also referred to as trimmed) plus water conditions can affect how the vessel moves during operation of loading or unloading. Many accidents have occurred from a vessel swaying too much in the water and resulting in either crushing equipment or employees, or causing equipment or employees to fall.
Step back and do daily checks on things such as weather conditions, tide times, water temperature, water current strength, employee PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), vessel securement, and employee demeanor prior to, and during, shift assignments. Such attention can increase efficiency and vastly decrease the chances for hazards that would cause accidents, damage, or cost excessive money. Stay alert and stay safe!
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