OSHA announces vertical tandem lift rule

By Euan Youdale19 January 2009

US authority the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a final rule to improve the safety of longshoring employees working with vertical tandem lifts (VTL).

The new rule from the US authority is designed to reduce hazards when lifting two containers at the same time. It states that VTLs, limited to two empty containers, should be performed with the use of semi-automatic twistlocks (SATL) that are specially designed for lifting.

"Port employees who lift and transport containers in an unsafe manner face significant risk of injury or death," said Thomas M Stohler, acting assistant secretary of labour for OSHA. "This rule on the proper use of VTLs specifies requirements that employers and employees must follow to protect the safety and health of those working in terminal areas. Allowing the safe use of VTLs will also help stevedores and shippers improve productivity and reduce congestion at the nation's ports."

In the rule OSHA also determines that inspection of containers and SATLs immediately before the lifting operation must be carried out to ensure the equipment is in good condition. The rule also sets requirements for a ground transport plan and safe work zones.

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