“OSH Ports” is a new application designed to help workers in ports identify and reduce the many risks they face. It has been developed by the Seafarers’ Trust of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), in collaboration with dockers.
In their daily work, dockworkers are confronted with risks such as noise, heavy lifting, working at height and falling cargo. But they also handle a cocktail of toxic chemicals from the ships they unload. These risks are compounded by long working hours, intense work pace, inadequate equipment and procedures, and an endemic lack of training. To cut costs, operators rely on untrained casual labour and sometimes even seafarers to handle cargo.
OSH Ports includes five modules to identify the hazards and risks that can affect dockworkers and their colleagues. After completing the training and passing the assessment, dockworkers receive a certificate recognised by the International Labour Organization’s International Training Centre (ILO-ITC).
This initiative was first developed in the Arab world. Indeed, “dockers, seafarers and fishermen in the region face deadly risks every day due to a lack of adequate investment in safety and health education” said Paddy Crumlin, chair of the ITF Dockers’ Section. The next step is to educate port owners, governments and global operators on the need to invest in safer controls and equipment.