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APM Terminals enhances truck drivers safety in Mumbai

APM Terminals aims to enhance safeguarding for truck drivers in Mumbai developing "lock arrester" to keep truck drivers safe.

APM Terminals said that around 3,500 trucks enter AT Gateway Terminals India (GTI), APM Terminals operation in Mumbai, India every day. Some had become accustomed to getting down from their trailer cabin to check if the trailer was unlocked from the container it carried. Their fear was that, if still attached with the twist lock, the truck could be inadvertently lifted along with the container. However, this ‘double check’ of the twist lock exposed them to risk.

It was a situation that was picked up by Natarajan Swaminathan (Swami), Assistant Manager – Engineering at APM Terminals Mumbai during the Kaikaku Kaizen week earlier this year. Kaikaku Kaizen refers to the Japanese-developed business methodology of making fundamental and radical changes to production systems. These periodic events – held throughout our global terminals several times a year – unearth improvement points and ensure we constantly effect greater efficiencies – especially in safety.

Says Swami said, “I noticed the behavior of the truck drivers, and I understood their reasoning. But I knew they were not safe. I could not shake the thought – how can we restrict the movement of the trailer lock so that it will remain in position and convince truckers that they have no reason to leave their vehicles.”

To crack this nut, Swami organised a ‘try storming’ – a LEAN-inspired working method which encourages learning and experimenting by doing, in a safe context. Swami explains, “Working with a small team, we found that a simple lock arrester kept the unlocked twist lock in place. When held in place with the lock arrester, the twist locks would not rotate, even if the trailer was empty or exposed to bumpy roads.”

“We carried out rigorous testing with 100% success rate. We had an expert pilot driver to simulate all eventualities and were able to demonstrate how it worked with the truck drivers. We gained the confidence of the trucking community, and the solution has since been implemented by 100 external trailers. The benefits are being felt not only by our terminal but throughout our operations,” pointed out Swami.

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