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OSHA publishes fact sheet on safe baggage handling at cruise ship terminals

OSHA fact sheet longshoring
Photo: OSHA

Washington – A recently released fact sheet from OSHA is intended to protect longshore workers who handle baggage at cruise ship terminals.

Porters and baggage handlers frequently bend, kneel, crouch or crawl in unnatural positions while working, making them susceptible to injuries, the fact sheet states. The resource encourages employers to promote safe lifting techniques. Tips include:

  • Perform gentle range-of-motion exercises before shifts to warm up muscles.
  • Don’t assume an object’s weight based on its size; check for tags indicating heavy baggage and request help if an object is too heavy.
  • Hold bags close and centered to your body while keeping a baggage cart or cage nearby to limit the lifting process.
  • Lift slowly and steadily, using your legs instead of your back.
  • Turn with your feet while lifting. Don’t twist your waist.
  • Don’t stack baggage above shoulder height.
  • Use alternate routes if transporting baggage over slippery or uneven surfaces.

The fact sheet also offers tips on using equipment, including carts, cages or forklifts:

  • Only use equipment in good working condition.
  • Don’t deviate from instructions when operating mechanical equipment.
  • Use restraining devices on cages, when necessary.
  • Don’t stack bags too high.
  • Practice extra caution when using pallet jacks to transport baggage.
  • Follow established traffic patterns and be mindful of your surroundings.

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