OSHA has proposed a rule relating to longshoring and Marine terminals to permit the lifting of two containers stacked vertically together with a combined weight of containers and cargo up to 20 tons.

OSHA's final Longshoring Standard and related sections of the Marine Terminals Standard, published in 1997, discussed vertical tandem lifts but did not cover them. The revision provides safe work procedures (engineering, work-practice and administrative controls) for lifting two empty or loaded containers with a total weight of up to 20 tons. It also includes requirements for the certification and annual inspection of liftlocks, installation of mandatory load indication devices on cranes, restrictions on hazardous materials that can be lifted in tandem, and a plan for transporting vertical containers in terminals.

Vertical Tandem Lifts can reduce the time it takes to load or unload containers from a ship by an estimated five percent to ten percent. Although there are some costs associated with extra engineering and work-practice controls, evidence indicates that these costs are outweighed by the overall savings in time.

Comments and hearing requests on the proposed rule must be submitted by December 15, 2003, to: OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. S-025A, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 20210. Comments may also be submitted via fax by calling (202) 693-2350, or electronically to http://ecomments.osha.gov.