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New report tackles container terminal safety

[ June 14, 2013   //   ]

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has produced what it says is the first ever major international study of health and safety in global terminals. Conducted by Cardiff University and commissioned by the ITF, it has been produced in cooperation with three of the world’s biggest terminal operators: PSAInternational,  APM Terminals, and one other company.

It finds that container terminals remain a high risk environment for dock workers and although major terminal operators have made some important strides in improving health and safety management, much improvement is needed to bring the industry up to the standards of best practice found in other sectors where worker participation systems are effectively developed.

Current health and safety systems in the industry are largely ‘top down’ and rule-based but evidence from other industries demonstrates that occupational health and safety can be strengthened by worker participation to address the underlying causes of health and safety problems. There also needs to be greater attention given to include sub-contracted workers, along with more attention to health issues such as musculoskeletal disorders and fatigue.

The report lays the groundwork for a wider and more comprehensive second study, that again is being conducted with the co-operation of PSA International; APM Terminals, and another GNT operator.

Sharon James, ITF dockers’ section secretary, commented: “This is an important, first-of-its-kind project. We commend these three leading GNT operators for cooperating with this research. By engaging in an independent assessment of their performance, these companies are showing leadership for the wider container terminals industry.”

The 94 page report – Managing the health and safety of workers in globalised container terminals – can be see at www.itfglobal.org/infocentre/pubs.cfm/detail/39726 and examines six global network terminal (GNT) ports as well as a worldwide survey of ITF member unions.

ITF GNT final version 29-04-13vp

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