TT Talk - How to improve traffic management in 4 easy steps

Traffic management issues contribute to 87% of the costs of major injuries and fatalities occurring at port and terminal facilities. This is one of the findings from an analysis of such claims costing over US$100,000 insured by the TT Club globally over the last four years.

Accidents involving large mobile handling equipment (lift trucks, reachstackers etc) result from collisions with other vehicles or striking fixed objects, overturning, as well as dropping or 'nudging' loads onto other vehicles or pedestrians. These accidents are generally caused by driver error, but can be dramatically improved by good traffic management.

The Club's analysis concludes that focusing loss prevention on four specific issues will substantially mitigate the risks. Effective traffic management procedures should promote:

(1) One-way traffic flows

Implementing one-way traffic flows has been shown to reduce collisions dramatically. There is a common perception that this will reduce productivity, but experience of those facilities that have implemented a one-way traffic flows shows that not only do accidents reduce but productivity increases. It may not be possible to have one-way flows everywhere, but this should be done wherever it can.

(2) Limiting vehicles & pedestrians in the terminal yard

Limiting the number of vehicles and pedestrians allowed into the terminal yard reduces the number of accidents. Private vehicles should never be allowed into the working area of the terminal. Only company vehicles that have high visibility strips or colour and/or flashing lights should be used to move people and equipment around the facility.

Procedures should be adopted to limit the need for staff to be in the yard. Pedestrians should not be allowed on the terminal at any time. Ship's crew must not be allowed to walk through the terminal. A segregated access way or a vehicle should be provided for personnel access to and from the ship. Terminal staff should travel to any necessary locations in company vehicles. Security personnel should not be positioned on foot in the terminal; CCTV should be utilised and security personnel located in a control room.

(3) Site induction procedures for external truckers & visitors

The majority of serious injuries on a terminal occur to external truckers; often it is because they do not know or follow procedures.

A site induction procedure should be provided to anyone entering the facility. The induction should cover emergency plans, where to go and where not to go, etc. A sign at the gate is not considered adequate. The ideal is to provide face-to-face training for all external truckers similar to the training given to terminal staff. The trucker can then be given photo ID stating the date he was inducted. Access to the facility thereafter should not be permitted without the ID. Refresher training should always be provided periodically and after any significant infrastructure change.

(4) A safe area for truckers to lock/unlock twistlocks - not in the terminal stacking area

Truckers should not alight from their cab anywhere within the terminal stacking yard where cranes, straddle carriers or lift trucks are operating. The only time a trucker should alight from the truck cab is to lock and unlock twistlocks. This procedure must not be performed in the stacking yard; each facility should provide a safe area, for example adjacent to the main gate, where only external trucks are allowed to stop briefly to carry out this task. Further, clear and safe procedures should be adopted to keep the trucker safe whilst a container is being removed from or loaded onto the trailer/chassis. Generally, the trucker should remain in his cab. The only exception to this is straddle operations, where the driver should alight from his truck and stand in a designated safe area while the straddle is loading or removing the container.

Additional information can be found in the following ICHCA International publications, which are available as download copies free to ICHCA members or at a small cost for non-members: Briefing Pamphlets: BP5 - Container Terminal Safety; BP10 - Safe Working at RO-RO Terminals.

Research Papers: RP3 - Health & Safety Assessments in Ports; RP8 - Safe Walkways in Port and Terminal Areas. Finally, all procedures must be enforced. If it can be shown that procedures are consistently not followed and little action taken to enforce them, you are likely to be unable to sustain a contributory negligence argument in any subsequent litigation, as well as to be exposed to fines from Health and Safety authorities.

Staff Author

TT Club