danger on the docks : longshoremen’s deaths lead union, industry to re-examine safety in era of container ships
The eastern Patriots stop at Long Beach Harbor.
A heavy dew fell, and two dock workers walked slowly to avoid slipping through the top of the cargo container stacked 32 feet high on the deck.
These people work across the container, with their backs facing each other, reaching down with long poles and unboxing the boxes so that the cranes can lift them ashore.
Medina didn\'t notice his partner disappeared.
\"I don\'t know what\'s going on,\" the Docker recalled . \".
\"I heard nothing and saw nothing.
An advertisement in Medina shows Gao siola lying on the deck.
He had apparently lost his footing and fell.
46 lifted from the dock-year-
Residents of old San Pedro died in hospital.
Three months later, Mariner Steve Suryan was working on M. V.
Fver Lyric in Port Los Angeles.
Shortly after midnight, 26. year-
The old Long Beach residents walked down a passage, and a crane was caught by some cables left on the deck and hobbled back.
Suryan, who was nailed between the crane and the container, was crushed to death.
In the 12 months ended June, Gaxiola and Suryan were two of the Five Dock workers killed in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Three of them died at a huge container terminal in the port.
The other two happened while dealing with steel.
There has been no death since.
The five deaths occurred ten years ago, and in Southern California, the number of deaths per year for dock workers ranged from 1 to 3, causing union leaders, company officials and federal security regulators.
To varying degrees, they worry about technology. -
Especially the container cargo revolution-
The work of the dock workers has changed so much that more training, new safety regulations and improved equipment may be required.
But there are also concerns that new regulations are hurting productivity.
Despite the recent increase in deaths, employers say the number of accidents at the Los Angeles and Long Beach beaches has been declining.
According to the Pacific Maritime Association.
There are 12 figures collected from the report of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In 1984, six out of every 100 dock workers were injured, a decrease of 20% from 1980.
The company and union officials agreed that the work of the dock workers has always been dangerous.
Some areas, such as steel handling that killed two people, have changed little in recent years.
But in some ways, they say, the industry is becoming more dangerous as the number of goods loaded in containers increases.
Before the shipper begins to use huge containers to transport the goods, the Docker may unload or load the vessel by relying on a strong back, working for a few days with an ordinary gang of about 10 people, carry the brute force and shared knowledge of bundles, boxes and crates.
Now, he is more likely to be sent to the dock alone for work that he may have never done before.
At the same time, the dock workers who used to operate the winch and forklift are operating the control device of large trucks or cranes with a height of 80 feet, which can be upgraded by 40-foot-long, 33-
A container of three football fields.
The new working environment \"the technological revolution has created a whole new working environment,\" said Dave Arian, president of the international dock and Warehouse Union, working for new safety rules.
\"The tradition of Docker getting used to working nearby has changed radically, but the safety conditions have not changed.
\"Advertising\" today\'s dock workers are not equipped or properly trained to handle modern goods
Processing facilities, \"said Dino Rossi, vice president of Long Beach Container Terminal.
Hundreds of dock workers were hired through the Union. \" . . .
We really haven\'t changed the set of working rules on the waterfront.
Unions and employers have agreed on several new security measures for three containers
Federal officials are considering new security regulations.
The idea of shipping marine goods in containers is usually attributed to the shipping giant Malcolm P.
McLean began transporting truck trailers on unused decks of tankers in late 1950.
The concept is simple: Save time and money if the goods are placed in trailers or other containers and loaded and unloaded directly from the ship to the truck.
In the past few decades, the number of goods transported by containers has increased. Containers are generally 20 or 40 feet long, 8 feet high and 8 feet wide, it now accounts for at least half of the normal cargo going in and out of the National Port, Virginia-according to Rex Sherman-
Port authorities. (
General goods include large commodities such as food and large commodities such as cars. )
\"It\'s much faster,\" Sherman said . \"
\"For example, at the age of 50, there was a 10,000-
On a general cargo ship, you may say that it takes four or five days to unload a ship in a traditional way.
Now, with a container ship, we\'re talking about the turnaround of a day or a day and a half.
\"The number of containers through ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach has increased significantly in recent years.
Pacific Maritime Association.
The employer group, representing 120 steamship, loading and unloading and terminal operators on the West Coast, estimates that total container shipments through the Southern California port (including San Diego) are 26.
Last year, 6 million tons, compared to 2.
9 million tons in 1970.
The association estimates 26.
6 million tons of cargo accounted for more than half of all container cargo transported through ports in the western United States.
In response to this increase, local unions have increased their membership.
While other locals off the West Coast have lost their members because of containers and other new technologies ---
For example, in San Francisco, the number of dock workers has decreased from 1,580 in 1975 to the current 2,560. -
In the same period, the number of people in Los Angeles and Long Beach increased from 2,558 to 2,770.
4,000 \"temporary workers\" ads supplemented by 4,000 employees
Called temporary workers, they are not registered dock workers, but jobs sent to two ports-
No formal training. -
When there are not enough dock workers.
Terry Lane, regional manager for Southern California, Pacific Maritime, said temporary workers at the port were sent to an average of 700 to 800 jobs per day.
Mainly due to the growth of container trade, the association has trained more dock workers to operate specialized cranes and trucks.
Lane said that more than 300 dock workers have been taught to operate cranes since 1981, and they have received more than two weeks of guidance from experienced dock workers.
Recently, some 350 newly hired dock workers were trained in container terminal trucks.
Despite two training programs, the Union and the employer acknowledged that many dock workers were driving trucks without prior guidance.
They also say that with the hiring of more dock workers and casual workers, it is not uncommon for them to be assigned to work on a container ship, although they have little or sometimes no experience on board.
\"I think for so long we have a stable team of people with skilled people who can do the job without a fuss, this gives us a safe, perhaps we shouldn\'t, said Jack Suite, director of training and accident prevention for the Pacific Maritime West Coast.
Federal and state jobs
Security officials have not determined whether the pattern of recent deaths exists, saying that their agency passed the safety rules in 1983, with 1984 dedicated to sea freight stations.
Both the state and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued subpoenas to employers of men killed at container cargo facilities alleging unsafe conditions.
The cited violations include failure to properly train the equipment operator and leaving unused equipment in the work area.
The maximum fine is $800.
Tom Butler, regional manager of the state\'s Long Beach Occupational Safety and Health Authority, said the agency responsible for land safety did not consider amending its rules after death.
He said he was not aware of the inadequate rules.
However, some members of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are concerned that the authority is responsible for enforcing safety regulations on board ships, and its rules on container ships are not specific enough, according to James Gunther, security engineer at the agency\'s San Francisco office. “Mainly, (the rules)
Handle the handling of containers, not the safety of employees, \"Guenther said.
For example, while the agency\'s rules stipulate where the weight of the container must be marked, there is no mention of whether the Docker should wear a seat belt while working at the top of the container, he said.
The rule that is being revised, guenther, said that federal agencies are now in the early stages of revising their rules, which were prepared in early 1970, before the significant increase in container usage, although they have only been adopted in recent years.
Ali An, chairman of the local trade union, said he believed the existing rules-
Agreements agreed by unions and employers, as well as state and federal regulations ---
Not specific enough.
In addition, he alleges that the employer did not systematically enforce the safety rules and did not retrain the dock workers for them to work on container ships and docks.
Many dock workers agreed.
\"My whole family has been on the waterfront all my life, but my personal background is in the construction industry, there are no apprentices, and we don\'t touch anything,\" said 30-year-old Dave stamp . \", He registered as a dock worker in 1982.
\"But some of these kids get up at night, get called out, and boom, you\'re 18 or 19 years old, 50 or 60 feet high, you have never left your mother\'s womb.
\"For every accident, I have seen at least 10 attempted accidents,\" said another dock worker outside the Union dispatch hall in Wilmington.
Some dock workers pointed out the death of Benjamin Evans to illustrate their argument that the workers were not properly trained. The 48-year-
On last October, the old dock workers were killed at the container loading and unloading company. Inc.
In Long Beach, a truck driver accidentally knocked him down, and OSHA officials said he was not properly trained to drive the vehicle.
The company was fined $300 for failing to train drivers.
After the death and concerns of threatened workers\' safety, union local leaders said on June
Two ports were shut down for an hour.
Later, the local threat was to strike until the employer agreed to implement 34 new safety rules at the container terminal to supplement the existing rules.
A new regulation requires dock workers on the top container to wear safety belts to prevent falls;
The old rule only requires the employer to have a seat belt if the employee wants it.
Another new regulation, designed to prevent falling, prohibits dock workers from working next to an open hatch.
Workers must now maintain a distance equivalent to 9 to 12 containers from the crane-
Twice the distance allowed before. -
Reduce the chance of being hit by a crane or hanging container.
Despite these changes, Arjen said he believes the new rules do not address the fundamental changes that have taken place in the workforce ---
Mainly, as containers dominate the waterfront, the structure of the work gang between the Docker has disappeared.
He supported gangs working on container ships in local ports, whose number decreased from about 60 in early 1970 to 30 or 35.
\"What used to stabilize the dock workers was (that)
\"He basically works in the same gang unit,\" Ali said . \".
\"He was taught by older dock workers because he worked around them.
There are more discussions and more people working.
\"Now with the bare
Bones manning and a lot of people are working on a job that they have never done before, where no one, including the boss, tells them how they should work.
In response, some employers complained that the gang system would require them to hire a certain number of dock workers, whether or not needed.
Small loading and unloading companies will be hit particularly hard, they said.
Nevertheless, many employers believe that long-term outsourced work, while always dangerous, can now be more dangerous.
They say that when safety rules are not followed and accidents occur, there is a possibility of serious injury or death due to the size of the container and the equipment used to move the container.
Some employers believe that the entire maritime industry has failed to respond to workplace changes brought about by containers.
\"As an industry, we have not looked at safety equipment because we may feel that it will reduce productivity,\" said Edward Denek, regional vice president of US loading and unloading services, Long Beach.
In fact, other employers have said that due to significant investments by shipowners, loading and unloading companies and other companies, the shipping industry may be one of the slowest industries to adapt to technological change.
For example, industry officials say it may cost tens of millions of dollars to build a container ship, while cranes for unloading will cost $3. 5 million.
Rossi of Long Beach Container Terminal said: \"It is difficult to modify projects with high capital value . \"
\"You are really stuck in slow change.
In addition, the employer believes that dock workers who work under a wide range of rules and regulations are protected by a contract that allows them to simply reject a particular job, or stop working if conditions don\'t seem safe.
In the latter case-
Employers and dock workers say this rarely happens ---
Trade union officials or arbitrators are usually called to the site to resolve the dispute.
Pacific Maritime said some company officials also disagreed with the rules passed after the death.
Although John Jeffrey, president of Long Beach Container Terminal
He said the rules had a negligible impact on the operation of his company, and interviews with six other officials showed that they had reduced productivity by up to 20% at some terminals.
\"In a series of very emotional situations after death, these rules are hastily agreed (of Suryan)
At the end of June, \"said Lane of the Pacific Maritime Association.
\"We have a security obligation, but we also have an obligation to get these ships in and out,\" said DeNike of the loading and unloading service . \".
\"Both shippers and shipping companies are disgusted.
They spent a lot of money.
They can\'t believe we can\'t do anything about it.
Rossi said he believes the local union has solved the problem in the wrong way by emphasizing more security rules.
He said that unions and employers have recently started experimenting with new platform equipment on container ships to promote the safety of workers, shipbuilders and other maritime equipment manufacturers should be urged to redesign or invent mechanisms that can make work that works on container ships safer.
\"This is not a real employer or environmental issue. . . .
\"As an industry, we should pursue equipment personnel,\" Rossi said . \".
Nevertheless, Arian said that in addition to the new rules, he also requested that a union official be assigned at each duty station to ensure that the employer complies with those rules ---
Jeffrey\'s idea of labeling feather bedding.
Other dock workers union officials on the West Coast said they intend to ask employers to agree to the same rules recently adopted in Los Angeles and Long Beach, Ali said.
Dock workers interviewed said they supported efforts by local unions to improve safety.
But many are philosophical about the dangers at work and do not expect conditions to change overnight.
Others say they try not to consider the dangers of working around containers.
Linda Hipsher, 30, said: \"You just have to do this and think about the salary on Friday . \" She has been working as a temporary worker for about a year.
37-say: \"You try not to think about this problem . \"year-
Gaxiola\'s partner, old Eddie Medina, \"otherwise you\'ll end up doing what I\'m doing ---
Stay away from them.
\"Since his partner was killed, Medina has refused to work on a container ship.