The advent of containers in the shipping industry has led not only to changes in the way cargo is handled but also the risk it presents to the human factor
involved at the water front. A container terminal’s effectiveness is dependent on its ability to swiftly evacuate containers whether landward or seaward and this function it (terminal) hopes to execute properly to ensure reduced turnaround time for vessels which has become one very important indicator of a terminal’s competitiveness and also an important criterion for port selection by ship owners.
In this regards, container terminals have become busy places of work with many movements of persons and machinery or workplace vehicles making it necessary to effectively manage the “human – machinery interface” by effectively synchronizing the movements of machinery with that of man to prevent accidents and casualties whiles at the same time increasing productivity.
This is one major challenge in a terminal as machines cannot entirely work efficiently on their own without human intervention which is much needed to achieve the required goals of the terminal.
Many terminals have continually instituted and implemented policies to help prevent accidents and help ensure smooth operational activities. One such policy is the “Pedestrian free policy” currently in operation at the Meridian Port Service (MPS) Tema, MPS which is a joint venture between Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) And Meridian Port Holdings Limited, which is in turn a joint venture with Bolloré Group and APM Terminals has invested a great deal into acquiring extra pick-up trucks for ship side and yard workers this included supervisors, foremen, clerks etc which has ensured that all or most people involved with operations are most of the times in a vehicle and this has to a great extent reduced the extent of direct pedestrian interference in the terminal’s operational activities.
In an interview with the safety manager of the terminal he did mention that, the policy since its implementation has helped reduced machinery downtime which could have been caused as results human casualties as well as reduced equipment damages. He was however quick to add that, the success of the policy hasn’t come without some challenges as with every human institution and as such workers are frequently reminded of their role in the sustenance of this policy through a five to ten minutes “tools box” meeting conducted before the commencement of every working shift to discuss safety tips and issues.
In this day and age of modern port competition every minute in a container terminal is very important. However, spending close to 10 minutes each shift at “tool box” meetings has really had positive impacts in the terminal as no major casualty has been recorded since the inception of this laudable policy. Human lives are very important and safety of workers cannot be compromised with any other thing.
Investing in additional pickup trucks for yard and ship side workers as well as spending 5 to 10 minutes each shift to discuss safety issues has really paid off in protecting human lives at the terminal. Kudos to the MPS team for such a laudable initiative to protect lives and property at the terminals.
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