Longshoreman Hazards

Longshoreman Hazards

There are many different types of Longshoreman hazards due to the nature of the job. A longshoreman or a stevedore is a person who works along the shore, mainly loading and unloading cargo from ships. Understanding the work done by a longshoreman gives an idea of the hazards this type of job entails. A longshoreman is essentially responsible for moving cargo. This could mean moving it from the ship the storage yards on shore using cranes, lifts or even physically. The cargo could range from food items to containers of cars to oil drums to many other hazardous chemicals.

The work environment for a longshoreman is full of potential hazards like cables, tools, ropes, water or oil on the road. There is always some type of work going on at the docks. It could be welding, fixing electrical and mechanical problems, typing up cargo using cables and ropes, or something similar. This leaves a trail of wires, cables or ropes along the way. If a person is not careful, this could lead to tripping and falling. Similarly, water and electricity do not mix and could lead to deadly electrical shocks.

Some of the other work could include fixing metallic equipment, which leads to a lot of loud noises like hammering. If adequate protection against noise, such as noise reduction earplugs or earmuffs is not used, it could lead to permanent hearing loss.

There are many different types of flammable substances used on the dock like oil and fuel. These can cause a huge fire or explosion hazard. Improper handling of such materials can even lead to loss of life, not just property.

One of the biggest hazards faced by a longshoreman is while moving cargo. If a container is being lifted by a crane, it is essential that proper safety guidelines are followed to avoid failure of the equipment and leading to deadly consequences. Only properly certified operators should be allowed to work on these machines. This applies to all other machines that are used by any personnel on the docks. If any cargo is being moved physically, proper lifting procedure should be followed to reduce the likelihood of back injuries.

There are other problems that a longshoreman faces which are not apparent, but are equally hazardous. Time at any port is very expensive and there is tremendous pressure to reduce a ships time at a port as much as possible. Similarly, the time of the day is also essential due to the variance in tides. This creates stress and anxiety for the person working on the docks, which may lead to costly or even deadly mistakes.

There are many ways to mitigate most of these hazards. Most countries have regulations that protect the employers as well as employees against different types of hazards mentioned above. If these are followed properly, risks are dramatically reduced. Similarly, common sense rules like providing easy access to first aid, posting hazard information in various languages in workplace areas, proper access to fire extinguishers, etc. can all help reduce longshoreman hazards.