Dock workers have launched a fierce attack on industry bosses for trashing a proposed safety code just eight days after an employee was crushed to death on Melbourne's wharves.
In the wake of the death this week of Anthony Attard, a father of three who was killed doing his job on board the Toll RoRo vessel Tasmanian Achiever, the MUA is gearing up for a massive escalation of the Waterfront Safety Campaign.
Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith, National Safety Officer Matt Goodwin and Victorian Branch Assistant Secretary Robert Patchett spent several days on the job supporting and working with members in the aftermath of this tragedy.
The MUA received a letter from the Maritime Union of New Zealand expressing condolences and solidarity regarding the death of Anthony Attard. You can read the letter here.
The Maritime Union of Australia passes on with great sadness the news that an MUA member and delegate has been crushed to death on board a ship at the Toll Shipping facility in Port Melbourne. Anthony Attard, aged in his 40s, was helping load cargo onto the Tasmanian at about 1.45pm on Tuesday when the incident occurred.
Ambulance Victoria said they treated the man at the scene, but he could not be saved.
Basket lifting is not recommended safe practice under national safety guidelines.
Safe Work Australia’s National Guidance Material Working Safety with General Cargo – Steel Products favours double wrapping over basket lifting to ensure a positive grip on entire load throughout loading/discharge (page 23).
These guidelines are still in force and should be followed.
MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith was in Melbourne this week, to address the ACTU organising conference on behalf of the safety of Australian maritime workers.
Meetings were held in Fremantle and Melbourne, linked by video. The meetings were organised by the ACTU, and chaired by MUA Deputy National Secretary Mick Doleman. More than 30 leading HSRs and delegates, from all major unions in the offshore including MUA, AWU, AMWU and ETU, participated in the discussion.
At the meeting, HSRs and delegates looked at ways of working together to campaign for better safety in the offshore petroleum industry.
Recent incidents highlight the anomaly that Australia’s most hazardous industry has some of the most inferior health and safety laws of any industry.
The worker sustained chest injuries when he was struck by a container at the Patrick’s container terminal. He was taken to hospital for treatment.
Highlighting the fact that wharfies are 14 times more likely to die on the job than the average Australian worker, MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said that campaigning and organising around safety is a main priority for the union.
2013 has been a big year in safety
It has been a landmark year for safety in our industry. MUA members ramped up our campaign for a stevedoring code of practice - although we continue to face massive obstacles from stevedoring companies who oppose the code.
In seafaring, the MUA delegates have been working hard to establish trained HSRs on-board every vessel. At the same time, we are using the long-standing Seafarers’ Code of Practice more and more to achieve better safety at sea.
The MUA maintains a very close and important relationship with the Maritime Employees Training Limited. METL has a training program running now involving ex-dredge workers from Van Oord. It’s an example of an effective partnership between METL, the MUA and Van Oord. It is seen as a path-breaking industry effort.