Press Release

SIPTU calls for urgent introduction of new national safety standards in ports and docks

Date Released: 08 October 2019

SIPTU has called for urgent action by the Government to ensure new national safety standards are put into place in ports and docks following a series of recent fatalities in these workplaces.

SIPTU Ports, Docks and Harbour Organiser, Jerry Brennan, said: “A so-called ‘blitz’ by officials of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) on ports and docks around the country is reported in The Irish Times today (Tuesday, 8th October). This is a welcomed move but in order to improve safety at these facilities to the standard required, urgent action is needed on creating national safety standards which will be uniform across all ports and docks in Ireland.
 
“We wrote to the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, concerning this issue on 14th November 2018. This was followed by a meeting with officials of the National Marine College of Ireland concerning the design of a specific accredited course for safety in ports and docks. This course was adopted by the Port of Cork Company.
 
“On 10th September this year, a SIPTU delegation met Minister of State in the Department of Trade, Employment and Business, Pat Breen, in relation to the growing list of serious accidents and fatalities occurring in our ports.
 
“During this meeting we discussed the existing Health and Safety requirements under the 2005 Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act. We informed him that while some port companies and licensed terminal operators do implement safety training and induction requirement there is no common national minimum standards. Currently, the training in one port, or even terminal facility within a port, may be different to that given in another. These are shared work environments and such a divergence in training is unacceptable and not best practice.”
 
He added: “SIPTU has called on the Government to introduce a National Port Safe Pass Scheme similar to that which has existed in the construction industry for 30 years.
 
“We believe the current Construction Safe Pass Scheme can be expanded to incorporate training for port workers which would provide them with skills transferable to any port or dock environment in the country. The establishment of such a scheme requires Ministerial direction and regulation. SIPTU wrote to Minister Breen on 1st October 2019 calling on the Minister to establish such a scheme as a matter of urgency.”


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