Executive Briefings

Study Zeroes in on Ways to Improve Health, Safety of Container Port Workers

An independent study published on Friday suggests ways to significantly improve the health, safety and welfare of workers in the global container port industry.

Study Zeroes in on Ways to Improve Health, Safety of Container Port Workers

Commissioned by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and carried out by Cardiff University, the report is claimed to be the only one of its kind ever undertaken to such an exhaustive level.

While recognizing the ongoing health and safety progress made by port operators, the report recommends attention be paid to the following areas of concern:

• Inaccurate reporting of health and safety outcomes: even within the context of modern health and safety management models, levels of injury and risk are being under-reported.

• Lack of provision for gender: the study found that there is very little attention to the specific needs of female workers.

• Limitations of behavioral management systems: the report finds the widely used behavioral occupational health and safety (OHS) model inferior to participative systems, which emphasize worker involvement as partners in health and safety management.

• A focus on immediate safety risks at the expense of longer term effects on health.
           
• Subcontracting undermining reporting and a safety culture: the report shows that health and safety outcomes are worse for subcontracted workers.

• Productivity targets undermining the will to prioritize health, safety and welfare.

• The lack of a consistent approach to OHS management, at least in terms of applying the highest standards regardless of country.

ITF president and chair of its dockers’ section, Paddy Crumlin, explained: “We welcome the support of several companies who cooperated with this independent study with the intention of making ports safer places. We believe the issues identified will be of intense interest to them, and, we hope, to the entire industry. We will actively seek the industry’s cooperation in tackling these problems. 

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Commissioned by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and carried out by Cardiff University, the report is claimed to be the only one of its kind ever undertaken to such an exhaustive level.

While recognizing the ongoing health and safety progress made by port operators, the report recommends attention be paid to the following areas of concern:

• Inaccurate reporting of health and safety outcomes: even within the context of modern health and safety management models, levels of injury and risk are being under-reported.

• Lack of provision for gender: the study found that there is very little attention to the specific needs of female workers.

• Limitations of behavioral management systems: the report finds the widely used behavioral occupational health and safety (OHS) model inferior to participative systems, which emphasize worker involvement as partners in health and safety management.

• A focus on immediate safety risks at the expense of longer term effects on health.
           
• Subcontracting undermining reporting and a safety culture: the report shows that health and safety outcomes are worse for subcontracted workers.

• Productivity targets undermining the will to prioritize health, safety and welfare.

• The lack of a consistent approach to OHS management, at least in terms of applying the highest standards regardless of country.

ITF president and chair of its dockers’ section, Paddy Crumlin, explained: “We welcome the support of several companies who cooperated with this independent study with the intention of making ports safer places. We believe the issues identified will be of intense interest to them, and, we hope, to the entire industry. We will actively seek the industry’s cooperation in tackling these problems. 

Read Full Article

Study Zeroes in on Ways to Improve Health, Safety of Container Port Workers