Updated marine cargo handling 'Tool Shed' directive released by OSHA

On August 10, 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an updated directive that outlines enforcement guidance for inspections of longshoring operations and at marine terminals.

The directive was updated to help eliminate workplace hazards in the marine cargo handling industry by revising the requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to safely operate Vertical Tandem Lifts (VTLs).

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows seven workers were killed and more than 2,900 were injured in the marine cargo handling industry in 2010. OSHA said it hopes to lower this number with the updated directive by conducting focused interventions in the industry.

The revised directive clarifies which safety products employers must provide at no cost to workers, when employers must pay for replacement PPE, and when employers are not required to pay for PPE. The directive also gives information on VTLs, including the new regulations that have been written, and provides a number of updates and answers to frequently asked maritime cargo handling questions.

According to OSHA, in addition to safety products, first aid kits should always be readily available in marine cargo handling environments. At least one person with a first-aid certificate must be at the terminal and available for emergencies, and all workers should be aware of the locations of first aid kits.

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