Port Workers Welcome Health & Safety Review

Following two tragic deaths in the last two weeks, port workers are welcoming the government announcement of a range of actions to fix health and safety problems.

“All New Zealanders should return from work safe and unharmed. Recently we have seen a disproportionate number of injuries and fatalities in the port industry. The actions taken today will provide clarity on how we can reduce these serious incidents,” said Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Michael Wood.

Wood has directed the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) to commence an investigation into the recent port fatalities to determine any system wide lessons to improve safety.

Maritime New Zealand officers and WorkSafe inspectors will be undertaking assessments at each of the 13 major international commercial ports around the country over the next fortnight. Port companies are also being asked to review their operations, and industry and worker representatives will be asked if regulatory changes are required.

“We are sending a strong message to the port sector, every player must ensure they are doing all they can to reduce and manage risk,” continued Wood.

“The TAIC investigation will provide an independent, safety focused approach to identifying wider circumstances and causes of the accident. TAIC investigations are systemic, independent, and impartial, with extensive legal powers to gather and protect evidence.

“Our ports play a crucial role in our economy, and as part of our economic recovery it is essential that they operate efficiently and safely. I want to acknowledge that there has been good process over recent months, and I thank the sector for their continued engagement.

“Other sectors should also take notice from these recent events and remind themselves of their responsibilities to ensure the safety of their workplaces.”