Working for a Port Authority can be a hazardous job. From handling containers to vessels in ports, to using lifting equipment as well as working from height.  That’s why it’s essential that there are fall protection systems for port authorities in place across the country. This may include a fall arrest system such as a net or a bag alongside other fall protection equipment. 

  • Working Hazards At Port Authorities and Docks
  • Working At Height
  • Port Authority Fall Protection Systems
  • Low Level Solutions And Fall Restraint
  • Fall Bags For Port Authorities
  • Fall Arrest System
  • Hierarchy of Control At Ports
  • Fall-Pac Fall Arrest System and Equipment

Table of contents:

    Working Hazards at Port Authorities And Docks

    If you work within the port industry, you’re already aware of the hazards you face on a daily basis.  These can include;

    • Loading and unloading containers, as well as lashing and unlashing
    • Coupling and uncoupling trailers
    • Reversing vehicles near open quay edges
    • Using cranes to lift loads in all sorts of weather
    • Access to working on vessels, including hatches, holes and decks
    • Maintenance and unplanned work
    • Working on uneven or fragile surfaces
    • Routine work near a quayside

    Working at Height

    Many working activities that take place every day within the port industry could lead to a fall from height.  For example, you might be using cranes, aerial equipment and machinery to lift containers.   Or working on the decks of vessels and maintaining them on site.  Working safely near quaysides and working on uneven surfaces also pose a risk to employees who could fall into the water. Or you might be working on a vessel and accidentally fall from a hatch or open hole to a lower level. 

    The definition of working at height is any place where a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury if precautions are not taken.  For example, you are working at height if you work above ground or floor level.  Or if you could fall from an edge, through an opening or fragile surface. Thirdly, if you could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground. So what’s the right fall protection equipment to use at a port?

    Port Authority Fall Protection Systems – What You Need To Know

    A Port Authority fall protection system protects workers from falling off dock edges or quaysides, vessels or other high structures that they need to access. Employers have a legal duty of care for their employees and this includes making sure they are using suitable equipment at all times. As well as installing fall protection systems and maintaining them in good condition.

    Low-level Solutions and Fall Restraint

    A low level solution when it comes to fall protection for port authorities can include harnesses, lanyards and lifelines which keep employees safe whilst working near water. The worker attaches a harness or lifeline to a secure anchorage to stop them falling.  This is also known as a fall restraint system because it prevents the worker from reaching the hazardous area in the first place. 

    Fall Bags for Port Authorities

    Fall Bags absorb the impact when a person is falling towards the ground. The bags are usually made of high-density nylon and are hard wearing, but soft, to break the brunt force of the fall. There are different types of fall bags, which can be inflated on or off site  and are easy to move to the space where you need them.

    Fall Arrest System

    A fall arrest system uses a net or bag to keep workers safe if they fall from height.  This is in place alongside the equipment mentioned above. However, there is a big difference between fall restraint equipment and a fall arrest system. A fall arrest system is designed to help a person who is already falling, in order to minimise the impact of the fall. Moreover, anyone using a fall arrest system needs to have professional training to use it. Along with a recovery plan in place to rescue the person from the net or landing bag. 

    Hierarchy of Control At Ports

    Sometimes fall restraint equipment is not enough to protect workers, particularly if the work they are doing has to take place at or near a particularly hazardous area.  This is often the case in the port industry. Hence employers and site managers need to make sure they have the correct fall protection system and equipment in place. If you work at a Port Authority then there are legal requirements that you have to follow to keep everyone safe, including the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

    There is also a hierarchy of control. This starts with;

    • Elimination.  Try to redesign the job or change a substance so that the hazard is removed. For example, avoid working at height where you can. 
    • Substitution. Replace the material or process with a less hazardous one. 
    • Engineering Controls. Use work equipment to prevent falls where you can’t avoid working at height. Give priority to collective measures that protect everyone, over individual measures. 
    • Personal Protective Clothes and Equipment. If you have tried all the measures above to a reasonably practical level, the next step is to use personal protective equipment. For example, if you can’t eliminate the risk of a fall, use other measures to minimise the distance and potential consequences of a fall.  You must train staff in the use of PPE. 

    Fall-Pac Fall Arrest System and Equipment

    Finally, Fall-Pac is a company which provides fall protection systems for port authorities as well as other industries. All Fall-Pac units are built for versatility and cross industry safety, so they are easy to use and set up when you need them. 

    For example, the Fall Pac unit is a bag which is easy to transport and position on site.  It features a high quality woven polypropylene outer casing with a protective coating, which reduces the risk of water getting in, even in the wettest environment.  Inside the unit is specialist polystyrene which provides a reliably soft landing, should a worker fall from height. 

    Meanwhile the Fall-Pac Air is an air pocket fall arrest system landing bag. The bag is ready-filled with a controlled number of air pockets, so it arrives inflated.  This makes the site management simpler, because your site operator is free from the responsibility of inflating the landing bag to the correct level. 

    The Fall-Pac Units and Air Landing Bags are ideal for use at Port Authorities. This is because they are comfortable, reliable, durable and can withstand the environment.  As well as this, they give the fantastic protection to employees working at height. 

    You can buy or hire fall protection equipment from Fall-Pac so there are options if you only want something in place temporarily. 

    Need advice about whether Fall-Pac could protect or train your workers?

    Want to know how else we can protect your business from the risks of working at height? Talk with the team – 0800 652 8099 | sales@fall-pac.com

    Get in touch with Fall-Pac today