The Maritime Union has welcomed new guidelines for managing fatigue in the ports industry.
Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the new guidelines released yesterday are a major step forward for health and safety.
The guidelines are the result of collective work between employers, workers and Government agencies, as part of the Port Health and Safety Leadership Group chaired by Maritime New Zealand Chief Executive Kirstie Hewlett.
The guidelines draw on a substantial body of scientific research around fatigue, and the Group were advised by a fatigue expert from Massey University’s Sleep/Wake Centre.
Mr Harrison thanked the Government and Minister of Transport Michael Wood for their role in supporting moves towards better health and safety in the port industry.
“We are now seeing a great deal of progress around health and safety in the industry, and an acceptance that fatigue is one of the greatest risks in the industry.”
Mr Harrison says ports workers often work long and irregular shifts which increased risk factors in a fast moving, heavy machinery environment that operates around the clock.
“Our industry has seen numerous deaths and injuries of workers in recent years, and the only way to prevent this is by ensuring we have systems in place to protect workers and put health and safety first.”
He says the Maritime Union will now work with employers and agencies such as Maritime New Zealand and WorkSafe at the national and local level to develop fatigue risk management systems in ports over the coming months.