The International Transport Forum (ITF) has joined the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) in a call for better protection for all workers in Ireland’s ports following the death of a worker at Dublin Port.
The death of 50-year-old truck driver Nicholas ‘Nick’ Collier marks the seventh death of a worker in an Irish port in the past two years.
Published reports indicate a refrigeration unit was being loaded onto the back of the driver’s truck when Collier was struck and killed by another vehicle.
Paddy Crumlin, chair of the ITF Dockers’ Section, has called upon stevedoring companies to reassess their working practices and health and safety protections for workers.
He said: “It’s not good enough, it’s not acceptable, that workers are being killed because of shoddy safety practices and short cuts that save time and put money in the pockets of those that should actually be punished.”
International reports document port deaths at a rate of more than one worker killed every week of the year.
Crumlin stressed the importance of manslaughter laws and noted that the implementation and enforcement of industrial manslaughter laws could force a cultural change that would lead to fewer deaths at work.
Ireland’s Minister for Business, Heather Humphreys, has agreed to a demand by SIPTU and the ITF to meet to discuss safety solutions.
Jerry Brennan, SIPTU’S ports, docks and harbour organiser, said: “It is beyond my comprehension how the construction industry has had the benefit of a national safe-pass certificate requirement for almost 30 years and yet there is no such corresponding national requirement within our ports and docks.
“We extend our condolences to the family, loved ones and colleagues of the deceased worker. We also hope that this is the final such fatality before the long necessary action is taken to ensure our ports and docks become safer working environments.”