Insurance provider suggests more port training to reduce incidents

Nearly 85% of insurance injury claims from ports involve some type of vehicle. ( Photo: Shutterstock )

Injuries account for nearly one-third of insurance claims in ports, according to TT Club, which addressed the issue in a recent article. TT Club emphasized how more than 90% of incidents covered in the research were “caused by operational issues.” Compared to maintenance failure incidents, which came in at 7%, and incidents attributed to natural events at 1%, injuries remain a top concern for ports.

The breakdown of claim is as follows:

  • Vehicles and heavy equipment take the blame for injuries and fatalities as much as 85% of the time. Thirty percent of incidents involved vehicles like trucks or cars crashing into each other, pedestrians or fixed objects like posts, trees and walls.
  • Forklifts and reachstackers get involved in accidents too, comprising 23% of the total number of injuries and fatalities that occur in an industrial port environment.
  • Cranes also made it to the list, with incidents somewhat similar to the kind of injuries caused by mishandled forklifts and reachstackers in 19% of the incidents.
  • The remaining 13 percent of the total number of incidents covered by insurance costs consist mainly of straddle carrier operations.

In almost all incidents, human error is involved. But there is still hope as long as some practices can be changed. A “resource-intensive” crisis management approach is needed, the article states, not just trying to meet the needs of the claimants but as an opportunity for reputational damage control.

TT Club identified four specific issues that can result in fewer incidents and reduced loss prevention. Technology will always be a factor. But going back to basics still makes the cut especially when there is a way to retrain the people involved in the operations.

Its suggestions:

  • One-way traffic flows. Fewer vehicles in one spot of the port leads to more productivity. “Whatever physical constraints are in place, clear traffic demarcation is critical,” TT Club said.
  • Limiting vehicles and pedestrian access. This is similar to the previous advice, but specifically addresses pedestrian safety. This is basically clearing the area of any person not involved in operating the machines or the vehicles.
  • Site induction procedures for external truckers and visitors. Train external truck drivers on port procedures, including providing yard maps and precise directions on proper drop-off and pick-up points.

Human error is found at the heart of most of port-related injuries and fatalities, so it’s important to train – and retrain – the same stakeholders involved in keeping port operations smooth.

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