Near Death At Appleton Dock

A worker was nearly killed when a container came crashing to the wharf at Appleton Dock, Melbourne after the spreader gave way last night at around 6.20pm

The reefer fell and wedged between the vessel and the wharf, narrowly missing the clerk standing nearby.

"She was shaken up a bit," said Bob Patchett, MUA, who called to the scene immediately. "Luckily she was in the right spot at the time, the hatchman was in place overseeing the load and everyone else was well back out of the way when the reefer dropped. POAGS management acknowledged the role of the hatchman on the night and has undertaken to replace the spreader with new equipment."

The four gangs working  the two ships stopped work until all engineering certificates were inspected as valid on all spreaders and additional lighting supplied. The gang on the day shift including the shaken worker, were sent home while the checks were underway.

"Dark spots on the worksite were identified," said Bob.  "The company set up additional lighting and have undertaken to repair other lights."

But the union was critical no counseling or first aid was brought in before workers were sent home.  "No one asked if the shaken worker needed some one to drive her home," said Bob. 

Both ships were working by around midnight.

The workforce took a stance on safety and won," Bob Patchett said. "They are to be congratulated that all our members were able to return home safely that night."