Stevedoring code clears hurdles

Obstacles standing in the way of Australia’s first stevedoring code of practice have been cleared

Stevedoring code clears hurdles
Stevedoring code clears hurdles

June 6, 2013

Major obstacles standing in the way of Australia’s first stevedoring code of practice have been cleared, according to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

Safe Work Australia has agreed the code – dubbed the Code of Practice: Managing Risks in Stevedoring – has no significant costs and is ready for public comment.

An MUA statement today says the code will be a tool to prevent the deaths of wharfies such as Newcastle stevedore Greg Fitzgibbon, who died last year.

The code will
now go out for public comment for six weeks.

There will be no Regulatory Impact Statement to assess the cost, which could have delayed the code for months.

"We are on the brink of making history on the Australian waterfront," MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith says.

Smith says the final draft has strong safeguards for hatchman, beefed up training provisions, and extends onshore codes such as the crane code of practice to apply on ships.

He says the code should settle the jurisdictional debate about whether onshore safety laws apply to ships.

But Smith says the next six weeks are crucial.

"Now that the code is out for public comment, we have to make sure that we raise our voices even louder because we know our opponents, who value profit over safety, are not going away," he says.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) recently released findings on the 2012 death of Fitzgibbon show his employer did not adequately address the risk of cargo toppling over.

"It’s clear the company bears responsibility for failing to have in place proper procedures that could have prevented Greg’s death," Smith says.

"But, the larger problem is the lack of a robust safety system throughout the industry."

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