ITCO publishes fall protection protocol
Apr 12, 2006 1:18 PM
The International Tank Container Organization (ITCO) has published a safety protocol aimed at minimizing risks associated with working on the top of ISO tank containers.
"Our new ITCO protocol lays down recommended industry best practices for working on top of ISO tank containers," said Reg Lee, ITCO president. "It asks each participant in the tank container supply chain -- from consignors, loading depot operators, and rail and shipping terminals to repair and storage depots, customer receiving facilities, and tank container operators -- to look at what their roles and responsibilities are for safe access. We believe that the uniform and rigorous implementation of these new standards across the industry, according to an eight-year plan suggested by ITCO, will lead to notable improvements in the risks.
The Prevention of Falls From ISO Tank Containers has been developed in cooperation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Great Britain, and supports an overall HSE program designed to reduce the risks across a range of industries.
As a first step, the ITCO protocol calls for the tank container industry to minimize the need to access the tops of the containers, not least by encouraging bottom loading and unloading.
The protocol recognizes that the need to access the top of tank containers cannot always be eliminated and that people working on top need additional levels of protection.
Collapsible handrails of the type fitted on top of tank tankers are not suitable for ISO tank containers, and are likely to suffer damage due to the many modes of transport encompassed in a typical tank container journey, as well as their stowage on ships, ITCO pointed out.
The protocol calls for the responsibility of preventing falls to be shared by all the depot and terminal facilities handling tank containers through the provision of appropriate and effective control measures, such as fixed gantry and walkway arrangements, with handrails where appropriate.
As a result of 35 years of industry experience, ITCO and its members are of the opinion that having tailor-made measures, such as fixed gantry structures at the depot and terminal sites, will provide higher levels of working at height safety than handrails fitted to the tanks, Lee said.
A copy of the protocol can be downloaded from the ITCO Web site at itco.be.
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