Published: 21 Feb 2014

Image - Warren Smith Addresses Natl Safety Conf 2012

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.  

“The MUA’s continuing campaign for better workplace safety standards has rapidly developed arising out of the spate of waterfront deaths, particularly in 2010 but there have been other fatalities subsequently and prior,” Mr Smith said.

MUA WA Branch Secretary Christy Cain said the Fremantle accident followed a Fair Work Commission decision which ordered workers at the terminal to increase their work rate.

“We have serious concerns about this industry putting profits before safety,” he said.

“Our members do some very dangerous jobs. Their safety needs to be the main priority.

Incident highlights need for safety code

This latest accident highlights the urgent need for a National Stevedoring Code of Practice. 

For more than seven years the union has been campaigning to achieve, for the first time, a national safety code to improve safety in this dangerous industry. But with hostile governments in Canberra, and almost every state and territory, the code faces serious resistance.

The union has vowed to continue to campaign for a stevedoring code, and at the same time build strong organisation around safety in every workplace.

“Industry groups are not just lobbying against this code - they are lobbying against every Australian worker’s rights under safety legislation,” said Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith.  

It has never been more important for us to be organised around safety 

There is no more important industrial issue than your survival at work. 

Thanks to our waterfront safety campaign, we are better organised around safety than ever.

We have established strong networks of trained HSR's in every stevedoring workplace. HSRs are using every right and power to fight for better safety on the job. Over the last 12 months more than five hundred delegates and HSRs have attended MUA training.

Click Here - 6 things you can do right now to protect yourself on the job. 

Click Here - Print out a hard copy of this story for the noticeboard.


Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney