SAFETY | Dock death sparks Oz strike

DOCKWORKERS employed by Australia’s POAGS have walked off the job for 24 hours in reaction to a fatal accident this morning.

Worksafe Victoria said it appeared that a docker, 41, at Melbourne’s Appleton Dock was struck by a steel beam when a “lifting device similar to a gantry crane” collapsed, dropping its load on the victim. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Maritime Union of Australia members stopped work at all P&O Automotive and General Stevedoring wharves in 15 ports nationwide to mark the third fatal accident this year; it was the second at POAGS operations and the third fatality at Appleton Dock in seven years.

National secretary Paddy Crumlin said stevedoring is in crisis: “It’s the third fatality on the wharves in five months – and we said last time we lost a worker in March we needed urgent action to overcome the lack of safety on the job.”

Crumlin said there was a yawning gap in state and federal safety legislation covering wharves, especially in bulk and general operations, after years of neglect and deregulation under previous governments.

“The industry’s safety record is appalling,” he added. “We need national legislation. We need regulation, not guidelines. We need the federal government to intervene.

“The industry has failed to regulated itself and urgent intervention is now required,” Crumlin said.

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