Falling dislodged auto twistlock struck deckforeman / team leader

Published: 27 Nov 2023




27 NOVEMBER 2023



Last week, one of our members – Lee White from Patricks Port Botany – was struck on the helmet from a dislodged fitting whilst loading a blind cell, five high, on the Kota Laris.

The incident occurred at roughly 11.30 pm and Lee was comforted and attended to by his workmates and First Aid officers prior to the arrival of emergency services.

Lee has asked the Union to share his story with members to draw attention to the significant risks and dangers which are a fact of life for all wharfies.


Whilst emergency services were stabilising Lee, the crane gang was discharging containers from the adjacent wharf side bay as to get access for the work cage and safely egress off the ship to the waiting ambulance .

The style of fitting on the Kota Laris (auto-auto) is a flawed design, as when bumped they have a tendency to dislodge.

As well as Lee's workmates, Patrick management have to be commended for their initial and ongoing support for Lee.

Patrick & other stevedoring operators need to work with the Union to audit this style of fitting and take a cooperative and united position approach to representatives at the Shipping Australia lobby group, which represents international shipping companies in Australia. The MUA, its members and the employer in this example all agree that these fittings must be removed from international ships that visit our ports.


The MUA met with the International Dockers Council (IDC) on Friday to discuss the issue and get an international alert out.

Lee's hard hat definitely saved his life last week.

All members, including deck foremen and team leaders, should always wear all of their PPE at a working crane.

Members: Control your work area, follow all procedures, wear all PPE and keep all persons including crew – away from potential impact zones.

Members should report any/all incidents where a fitting dislodges to management.

Furthermore, talk to HSRs and your Union about control measures and Workplace Safety regulator intervention.



MUA National Safety Officer Justin Timmins visited Lee this morning and reports that, despite his significant injuries, he is in good spirits.

"He is a tough bugger who's had two surgeries so far and the major one to go this afternoon where they will be inserting a metal plate in his forehead," Timmins said.

As the photos illustrate there are a number of fractures to Lee's his skull, but as bad as it looks, this would certainly have been a much worse and probably lethal if Lee had not been wearing his hard hat.


Working the deck of a ship is an extremely dangerous job and is no place for complacency. Always "take 5" and assess your area.

If fittings are dislodging on the top of containers, get in your workcage to retrieve them. Do not try to flick them off with the flippers or use your unlocking pole -- the risk to your life or the life of a workmate is not worth the time you might save by doing it unsafely.

Lee has two young children and a wife Ashlee who are eagerly awaiting his return from hospital.

Along with them, the MUA and all of our members and associated unions wish Lee all the very best for a speedy recovery.


Justin Timmins

MUA National Safety Officer.



Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney