National stevedoring safety standards have been set to protect wharfies in Queensland.
The Managing risks in stevedoring code of practice is approved national guidance under harmonised work health and safety laws. Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace said she was pleased the code is now being adopted in Queensland.
“Wharf operators in this state have already begun implementing processes to meet the code, so it’s clear the industry embraces the high safety standards it sets,” said Ms. Grace.
“The code provides practical guidance on managing risks associated with stevedoring. It applies to all workplaces where stevedoring operations are carried out.
“And from 1 July, duty holders will be legally required to comply with these standards, which makes it a much more enforceable compliance tool on Queensland wharfs than in other jurisdictions.”
A decline was seen in the overall rate of serious claims in the stevedoring industry from 2003-2013, but the national rate of serious injury on the waterfront is more than three times the average rate for all industries and more than twice the rate of the transport, postal and warehousing or construction industry.
Queensland’s stevedoring industry has an average of 57 workers’ compensation claims for serious injuries every year, at a total cost to employers, workers and the community of almost $ 4.3 million annually.
The introduction of a new code of practice for the industry is estimated to provide a net present value (NPV) of about $ 3.5 million to employers, workers, and the community.
“During discussions and meetings, representatives from the stevedoring industry indicated they are fully prepared for the code and supportive of the enhanced safety culture it will deliver,” said Ms. Grace.
“The code clearly spells out how compliance is achieved. It will make our wharfs safer and those in the stevedoring industry can return home to their loved ones at the end of every shift.”
The code was developed in consultation with stakeholders from QUBE Ports, DP World Australia, Patrick, Shipping Australia and the Maritime Union of Australia, as well as the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Safe Work Australia.
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