The Importance Of Planning In Washington Longshore Operations

Longshoremen in Washington's maritime industry face many dangers. Heavy equipment, unpredictable boats and a proximity to the water put longshore workers at risk every day. Fortunately, state regulations provide for safe operations at longshore facilities and guide employers in making safe policies and decisions.

Longshore safety and operations are regulated by Washington's Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) and safety requirements are outlined in the Washington Administrative Code. L&I also administers the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), which provides further guidelines for occupational safety and preventing maritime injuries.

Accident prevention plans

The administrative code requires supervisors of cargo-handling operations to complete an accident prevention course and establish an accident prevention program in all longshore facilities and operations.

This plan must be tailored to the needs of the particular operation's function and staff and must provide for frequent, regular inspections of job sites, materials, equipment and procedures. Employers are required to conduct frequent and regular safety meetings with employees and keep a record of safety activities. The state code requires employees to comply with these programs to ensure their safety.

Emergency action plans

The state code also requires longshore operations to have an emergency action plan in place. This plan must include:

  • Emergency escape procedures and routes
  • Critical operations during evacuation
  • Rescue and medical duties
  • Procedures for reporting emergencies

Employers are required to review the plan with each employee. Emergency plans must be communicated in writing if the operation has more than ten employees or orally if it has ten or fewer.

Requirements for safety equipment

While large equipment like rigs and cranes may seem especially dangerous, safely using smaller everyday equipment is just as essential in preventing dock and pier injuries. Employers are required to provide protective eyewear, hats, footwear and clothing, as well as respiratory protection and personal flotation devices.

Employers must maintain safety equipment in good condition, ensuring that it is cleaned and disinfected as necessary. Equipment must comply with federal occupational safety standards and accommodate employees' needs; for example, all protective eyewear must be compatible with employees' eyeglasses or contact lenses.

If you have been injured at a longshore facility or other maritime operation, it is essential to consult a personal injury attorney who can protect your best interests. The right lawyer may be able to pursue damages for your injuries while getting you back to work.

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