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Improving straddle carrier safety through operational visibility and transparency

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Author(s): Richard Lambert, managing director, International Terminal Solutions Ltd, Loughborough, UK

In a typical straddle carrier operation, what procedures/methods can be put in place to move towards a zero accident policy? It goes without saying that the operator should be properly trained. But how do you make sure that it is the trained operator that is driving, and what mechanisms can you put in place to monitor and review the safe operation of the equipment. Waiting for the next accident is not an option.

Introduction

All container terminal operators recognise the benefits of improving operational welfare for their employees and on-site contractors.

It is without doubt that many have also adopted a proactive approach to operational safety, recognising not only the benefits to the welfare of the workers through a safer working environment, but also the additional benefits this will bring to the day to day operation by minimising disruptions and providing a more stable and predictable operating environment. However, how do you achieve the implementation of best practice in a busy container terminal where the operation is spread over a wide area, and just as importantly how do you measure the effectiveness of your efforts?

In a typical straddle carrier operation, what procedures/ methods can be put in place to move towards the end goal of a zero accident policy? It goes without saying that the operator of a 60+ tonne machine that is capable of carrying a load of up to 60 tonnes should be properly trained. But how do you make sure that it is the trained operator that is driving, and what mechanisms can you put in place to monitor and review the safe operation of the equipment? Waiting for the next accident is not an option.

In the following example the implementation of relatively inexpensive technology has been used as a significant step to move towards the goal of zero tolerance.

Training

After putting a training and authorisation regime in place the next step is to make sure you know who is driving. This is a relatively simple step and is already quite common throughout ports and terminals.

Restrict access

In this example a machine readable identity card access system has been utilised. There are however key features that need to be considered when implementing such systems and these are sometimes overlooked.

Centralised system

Unless you only operate one or two items of equipment or only have a similar low number of trained operators, one of the most important aspects of access control on mobile equipment is a centralised access control software application. The software application is connected to all the mobile equipment via a wireless connection and this approach provides several benefits including:

  • Easy database administration for removing old or lost cards and adding new users (no need to visit every machine to update).
  • The ability to set up time and equipment restrictions and easily change them as required.
  • Centralised audit trail (look at who is driving now, and who drove what when).

Card type selection

There are also major security benefits in controlling access to the equipment by using the same ID cards that are used for general access to the site. In tandem with this is the use of a card capture system where the card must be positively inserted in a card holder whilst the machine is in operation. In the example shown in Figure 3, cards are inserted into an industrial reader with the system reading the card and recognising if the card is removed. This approach brings several benefits:

  • Audit trail for site entry and machine use (eliminates working a double shift for a friend).
  • Ensures ID is the operator (not just a general RFID device to start the machine).
  • Equipment operation restricted without the use of a valid card.
  • Once stationary the machine will not move if the card is

removed (prevents leaving the machine running during shift break and a fresh operator using without a valid card). The implementation of these types of systems will provide a terminal with a full audit trail of whom, what, and when, and also ensures only trained approved operators use the equipment.

 

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Featured in the Edition:

Edition 58

PTI Edition 58 • Digital & Print
The fifty-eighth edition of PTI analyses Europe’s complex port system, and features exclusive articles on two of Europe’s major port development projects, Maasvlakte2 and Liverpool2, which are set to change the competitive landscape of the continent once more. Elsewhere, we head to Los Angeles to learn about the port’s Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) as part of our new Environment and Sustainability section, and we review the 28th IAPH World Ports Conference.



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