Monday, 18 May 2009

Fears over overloaded boxes

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is becoming increasingly concerned at the number of containers arriving in the UK with misdeclared weight information.
Christine Barringer, head of the transportation section at the HSE, said there had been a number of recent incidents that had raised concerns, not just regarding underdeclared boxes, but also there were fears over instability during haulage.
She said it was unclear how widespread the problems were, but there had been an increasing number of enquiries for advice.
Figures from the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency showed that in 2007 and 2008, 25,529 vehicles had been stopped and weighed in roadside checks, and 7,760 were over the legal weight.
The HSE was recently contacted by a large UK-owned company seeking advice, after an unstable container had overturned while being unloaded.
The incident has pressed the HSE to begin looking at ways to collect more data on misdeclared containers.
"We know that there have also been accidents where people go to unpack a container and it literally bursts open, because the load inside has fallen, or it was badly packed, " Barringer said.
She added that initial findings by the Marine Accident Investigation Board’s investigation into the MSC Napoli had unveiled a "shocking" number of misdeclared containers.
"Of the ones they were able to weigh, 20% were more than three tonnes different from their declared weight. The largest single difference was 20 tonnes and the total weight of 137 containers was 312 tonnes heavier than on the manifest."

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