New approaches to container terminal safety



Stephan Stiehler, vice chairman of PEMA’s Safety Committee, PEMA, Brussels, Belgium


The Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA) is to publish new industry recommendations on equipment protection and human safety in container yards. This follows the positive response to last year’s Recommended Minimum Safety Specifications for Quay Container Cranes. The persistence of accidents – costly in terms of injury and loss of life, equipment damage and reduced productivity – remains a concern, despite a positive trend in improved port safety over recent years.

PEMA’s decision to compile its initial publication regarding safety standards for quay cranes, published in June 2011 as a joint initiative with the TT Club and ICHCA International, was prompted by the results of the global analysis carried out by the TT Club that showed 34 percent of asset related insurance claims were directly related to quay container cranes.

While existing technologies significantly improve the safe performance of quay container cranes, and help address some of the most common causes of accidents and claims, many of these features are not currently included as standard when specifying new cranes. Such findings formed the basis for Recommended Minimum Safety Specifications for Quay Container Cranes, which is now available for download on the association’s website.

The recommendations were warmly welcomed by the industry, and triggered significant feedback and discussion. PEMA was extremely encouraged by the response, which signalled a high level of concern in the industry over safety, and demonstrated that there was a need for such materials to help improve standards at ports.

A broader scope

The success of this first project led the association to acknowledge that the scope of its work needed to be broader to include yard equipment, not simply quay cranes. Furthermore, PEMA members decided to approach safety issues surrounding yard equipment from the perspective of human safety and equipment protection.

The association established special working groups to tackle the two areas. Marco Bernacchioni, sales manager at Advanced Microwave Engineering heads the human safety group, supported by Walter Schneider, TIM Logistics Automation at SICK, and Rainer Kapelski, managing director at KALP Technologies. Stephan Stiehler, strategic industry manager ports, Corporate Solution Center, Logistics Automation at SICK is chairing the equipment protection brief, supported by Oleg Ermolaev, president of Baltkran.

The results of the current initiatives will be made available in a document entitled Recommended Minimum Safety Specifications for Yard Equipment, which is scheduled for publication at this year’s TOC Europe as a new joint initiative between PEMA, ICHCA International and TT Club.

The document is set to include safety recommendations for rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGs), rail mounted gantry cranes (RMGs), automated stacking cranes (ASCs), straddle carriers, lift-trucks and reach stackers, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), terminal tractors and trailers.

New ways to identify risks

Underpinning the new recommendations is a more structured appreciation of risk and its impact on safety. By analyzing the likelihood of events that cause damage to personnel or property, we can classify different types of risk.

Risks that may result in injury to personnel include health risks, safety risks and ‘crosscutting’ or organizational risk. Health risks are defined as those that involve exposure to chemical carcinogens and mutagens, or physical or biological agents, sources of air or noise emission, vibration, and ultrasonic radiation. Safety risks cover situations that may result from an accident caused by contact with a tool or a mobile structure.


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