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24. Regulations Concerning the Prevention of Industrial Accidents Resulting From Cargo Handling Work

Although cargo-handling work in Japan has achieved a remarkable level of mechanization in recent years, a number of accidents continue to occur in such work every year. The Industrial Safety and Health Law and related regulations require employers to take the following steps in addition to measures to prevent accidents due to cargo-handling and hauling machines.

1. Appointing operations chiefs, etc.

Operations chiefs and similar leaders shall be appointed when the following operations are performed involving cargo-handling, etc.

a. Loading and unloading cargoes with a weight of 100 kilograms or more (operations leader).

b. Making and breaking of cargo piles (cargoes stacked in a warehouse, under a storage shed or on the ground) with a height of two meters or more (operations chief of cargo pilling).

c. Loading/unloading or moving cargoes to and from or in ships (operations chief of stevedore).

2. Securing safety in making and breaking of cargo pile.

a. Installing facilities for going up and down cargo piles

Facilities shall be installed to allow workers to safely go up and down cargo piles when such work is performed at workplaces with a height of 1.5 meters or more from the floor.

b. Intervals between cargo piles

Cargo piles shall be placed with an interval of ten centimeters or more between them when the height of piled cargo reaches two meters or more.

c. Pulling out of middle cargo first is prohibited, etc;

Cargo should not be pulled out from the middle of a pile when its height is two meters or more. Where sacks are piled, cargo shall be taken from the top of the pile as the first step and gradually moved by making tiered platforms. The height of each platform shall be 1.5 meters or less.

d. Prevention for the collapse of cargo pilling, etc;

(a) In the event of any risk of collapse or falling of cargo piles, they shall be tied with ropes, protected with nets or piled up again.

(b) No persons shall be allowed to enter into places where work related to making or breaking cargo piles is being carried out.

(c) Adequate lighting shall be provided at places where work related to making or breaking cargo piles is being carried out.

(d) Workers shall be required to use protective helmets when they work on cargo piles of a height of two meters or more.

3. Securing safety in on-board cargo-handling work:

a. Installing facilities to go up and down

Facilities to ensure safe passage shall be provided on ships where the height between the deck and the bottom of the hold exceeds 1.5 meters. (Except for ships having their own facilities)
Workers shall not be allowed to move by using such facilities when cargo hoisting equipment or mobile cranes are in operations.

b. Prohibiting entry

No persons shall be allowed to enter the following places:

(a) Under places where work is being carried out involving the opening and closing of a hatch board or a hatch beam is being installed or removed.

(b) Places where the beams of cargo-lifting machine are moving upward or downward.

(c) The interior angles of pulling ropes when a cargo-lifting machine is used to pull out cargoes with rope. Grooved pulleys attached to the rope shall be tightly fixed to the ship frame with beam clamps or shackles.

c. Confirming the existence of harmful substances

The existence of harmful substances, such as chlorine, cyanic acid, or tetraalkyllead, which are likely to cause acute poisoning, or other dangerous things such as corrosive liquids or gunpowder, shall be confirmed in advance inside cargoes in the hold or on the deck or the wharf before the start of work. If such substances are found, safe handling methods shall be defined and measures shall be determined in advance for instances in which such substance are scattered or have leaked.

d. Prohibition of concurrent work

Concurrent operations shall be prohibited at different platforms in the same hold.

e. Use of slings


Drum slings or other similar slings with hooks shall be used for the slinging of drums and barrels.

(b) Slings shall not be directly hooked onto iron belts, ropes or wires used to bale such materials as cotton, wool or cork.

f. Workers shall be required to use protective helmets when they are engaged in in-port cargo-handling work.

4. Handling of cargo-hoisting equipment

a. Load limitations

Cargo-hoisting equipment shall not be used for lifting loads exceeding a prescribed limitations.

b. Appoint signaler

In operating cargo-hoisting equipment, operation signals shall be defined in advance and a signaler shall be appointed for each device.

c. Prohibition of leaving working position

The operator of cargo-hoisting equipment shall not leave his working position during the hoisting operations of the equipment.

d. Safety factors

(a) Chains, hooks or shackles shall meet pre-defined safety factors when used for slinging operations.

(b) Wire ropes, chains or fiber ropes failing to qualify under pre-defined requirements shall not be used.

e. Inspection

Operational conditions of the cargo-hoisting equipment and slings shall be inspected in advance of the start of operations.

(General health standards for offices will be discussed in the next session)