Worksite employees are almost always exposed to certain hazards that greatly increase the risk of accidents. Employers are tasked with preventing such potentially life-threatening scenarios to the best of their capacity.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration actively tries to deliver on that front by enforcing regulations upon employers of certain facilities where such situations are likely to occur.
OSHA states that it has jurisdiction over off-highway loading and unloading. This includes warehouses, plants, grain handling facilities, retail locations, marine terminals, wharves, piers, and shipyards, as well as, having jurisdiction in airport terminals.
Cargo Handling in the Workplace
Workers across certain facilities load and unload precious cargo that is either leaving or arriving at the facility. This work includes the use of machinery that poses a risk of injury or life-threatening scenarios if not operated properly.
Thus, we have the first step employers must implement to prevent workplace incidents: All heavy machinery, such as forklifts, must only be operated by certain employees. OSHA requires forklift operators who load and unload trucks to undergo specific training. Only then will any employee be allowed near a powered industrial truck.
Outside drivers who visit the workplace must have gone through the same truck-specific and site-specific training and evaluation.
Industries and Their Specific Hazards
OSHA has also defined some industries, as well as, their specific hazards. We’ll go through each of them.
Baggage Handling in Airlines
Airlines witness a significant amount of cargo every day, and that number only increases when considering popular destinations like the Los Angeles International Airport and Dubai International Airport.
Hazards specific to this workplace include:
- Using excessive force to handle heavy baggage
- Handling uneven loads
- Baggage falling on employees
- Moving the baggage on to the conveyer belt
- Frequently lifting heavy weights in awkward positions and for extended periods of time
Drivers tasked with delivering beverages throughout the city, or even outside the city limits, are exposed to potential musculoskeletal injuries, such as neck strains and back pain, due to being in awkward positions for prolonged durations. Drivers riding alone are also susceptible to mental exhaustion, therefore, it is better to have an accompanying person so that the two can keep one another focused and/or entertained.
Truckers delivering to shops have to lift dozens of boxes, one by one, and transport them on a hand truck (box cart). Employers can engineer trucks in a way that mitigates much of the loading and unloading efforts. It also includes product packaging that enables better grip. Trucks should also carry only their maximum weight, to avoid mishaps while driving.
Grocery Warehousing and Meat Packing Industry
Similar to the baggage industry, employees working in warehouses have to lift heavy loads from racks, often while extending their reach. It puts the employee in an ergonomically awkward position that carries potential physical side-effects.
Similarly, workers in the meatpacking industry carry pallets around the worksite and onto trucks. The requirements that come with meat storage also mean that workers are exposed to extremely cold storage rooms. Such facilities have wet floors that become dangerous while carrying a load.
Hazards of the Logging Industry
The logging industry splits into manual and mechanical operations. However, both are equally dangerous. The logging process involves the use of heavy machinery, and without the proper skills needed to operate them, they can pose serious threats to workers in the vicinity.
Logs are large pieces of wood that can roll due to their circular form. Workers have been met with their demise because the safety mechanism holding a pile of logs broke loose and one of them rolled over someone. Such incidents can and have also occurred while loading and unloading logs from delivery trucks.
Maritime, and Oil and Gas Well Drilling Hazards
Shipyard work carries an injury-accident rate twice that of the construction and general industry. Forklifts used in the shipyard industry are generally much scarier, not to mention the larger than life containers that need to be loaded and unloaded on a daily basis.
When it comes to the Oil and Gas Well drilling industry, on-site workers may be exposed to flammable objects while they attempt to load or unload from delivery trucks.
The only remedy for preventing these situations is by extensively training workers through OSHA 10 and 30 Hour Construction Safety program. The said program is tailored to meet the requirements of loading and unloading driving safety in the worksite.