Tag Archives: workers


Between 2010-11 and 2011-12 Australian sea exports increased by 6.1% to $236.2 million, with the tonnage of these exports increasing by 10.4% to 973.2 million tonnes. Imports valued at $182.2 billion and weighing 94.9 million tonnes also increased by 13.3% in the same time frame. These increases have important implications for specialist transport and work related safety in Australian port terminals.

A freight safety report published by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) found that the main threats to work related safety were associated with heavy machinery and the massive loads that are moved around the docking areas. Increased risks included inadequate workplace infrastructure and insufficient container information.

The two areas of worker related safety of concern in ports are therefore due to the environment and to the unpredictable nature of container freight.

Environmental safety concerns

These are only a few of the injuries, some resulting in death, that highlight the emotional topic of worker safety in ports both within Australia and overseas.

  • On November 12, 2013 a worker was seriously injured when he was trapped between a forklift and a scissor lift at BAE Systems Shipyard in Western Australia.
  • In August 2013, a lack of training in safety procedures caused a protest at Station Pier in Port Melbourne blocking the movement of freight into and out of the dock.
  • In 2012, a stevedore died at Newcastle, NSW due to the fall of a break-bulk cargo of unstable ingot packs which crushed the worker. In the previous 2 and a half years there had been 5 other instances of unstable ingot cargoes falling – but without worker injuries.
  • In 2010 a stevedore was crushed to death between 2 containers as they were being loaded aboard ship at the Port Botany terminal, NSW. The death was attributable to the worker placing himself in a dangerous position just as a twistlock failed.
  • In 2010, a 2.5 tonne steel drum fell as it was being lifted at Appleton Dock, Melbourne killing a port employee. The transport company was fined $300,000.

The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau states that complacency about safety is one of the main causes of onsite accidents or fatalities in ports.

In April 2013, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) submitted a proposal to Safe Work Australia for a Stevedoring Code of Practice. To support their submission the MUA stated that the rates of death and injury in port terminals had reached crisis levels in Australia with a rate of 2.8 deaths per 100,000 workers during 2010-11.

Given the death and injury rate within Australia, the MUA would prefer statutory safety regulations however, given the unwillingness of the government and employers to support any regulations – a Code of Practice was essential to worker safety.

Freight safety concerns

A 28 tonne container that was severely overloaded fell 12 metres and narrowly missed 2 workers at Darwin Port on February 25th 2011. The container was listed as weighing 4 tonnes but the true weight was 28 tonnes – which exceeded the load limit of the lifting crane causing it to break free and crash to the dock.

An overloaded forklift fell forwards after its container load shifted in a container yard in west Melbourne on May 9th, 2011.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in an effort to combat these and other problems intends to amend the Safety at Sea Convention (SOLAS). Specific to the weight of containers – the problem is that there is no universal agreement on weighing containers and the decision made by the IMO appears set to adopt a compromise which allows governments to choose how and when and by whom the containers are weighed prior to loading.

The ITF president Paddy Crumlin has stated that it should be a legal requirement that containers are weighed accurately and he does not believe that the proposed SOLAS amendments will enforce this requirement in a satisfactory framework. The undeclared and inaccurate weights of containers is an ongoing problem – and many more container incidents have been reported by the IMO.

In conclusion, the number of fatalities and injuries occurring in our ports is detrimental to the Australian import and export industry. It therefore behoves all specialist transport businesses to stand behind our Australian wharf workers and support a regime of both safety and transparency within our ports.

Author Bio

This article was submitted by AllWord Logistics, an international freight forwarding company based in Melbourne, Australia who provide efficient and effective sea and air freight services.



April 29 – May 3 was Air Quality Awareness Week.  Sorry that we are two weeks late, but this is a very important subject that affects all of us – any age.  This information is from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:Two of the most common pollutants in the U.S. — ozone, sometimes called smog, and particle pollution —  pose health risks for hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Are you one of them?
Many of us are. If you’re very young, if you’re a senior citizen — or if you’re somewhere in between – you may be at increased risk from ozone or particle pollution exposure.
That’s bad news. The good news? You can do something about it.

  • Children (including teenagers)are at greater risk from air pollution because their lungs are still developing, they are more likely to be active outdoors, and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Both ozone and particle pollution can prevent children’s lungs from working and developing like they should.  Children are also more likely than adults to have asthma which also increase their risk.
  • People with asthma or another lung disease are risk from both ozone and particle pollution, which can increase symptoms like coughing and wheezing– and can lead to a trip to the doctor or hospital.
  • Healthy adults who are active outdoors are at risk from ozone, which can make it more difficult to breathe deeply, cause symptoms such as coughing or scratchy throat, and inflame and damage the lining of the lungs – damage that can continue even after symptoms are gone.
  • People with cardiovascular disease (that’s your heart and blood vessels) are at risk from particle pollution, which can contribute to heart attacks, strokes, cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure – and premature death. Ozone can also harm the heart.  And both pollutants can increase the risk for premature death.
  • People in middle age and older. As we hit middle age, our risk for heart and lung diseases generally increases – and so does our risk from ozone and particle pollution. Factors that increase your risk for heart disease and stroke – like being overweight, having diabetes, or having high blood pressure or high cholesterol, also may increase your risk from particle pollution. 

Now for the good news: You can take steps to reduce your pollution exposure. Use the Air Quality Index (AQI) to adjust your outdoor activities so you can and reduce the amount of pollution you breathe in while still getting exercise. It’s not difficult – and your health is worth it.

Your local weather team can forecast the amount of allergens and pollutants in the air, so you can be prepared.  If you work in an atmosphere where there are particles floating around, be sure your company has the proper respiratory protection for you.  As suggested, don’t go outside to play sports if the Air Quality Index is high.  While working in the yard, wear a face mask and safety glasses. 

Car pooling is a way of reducing emissions that are released into the air by vehicles.  Let’s do all we can to keep our atmosphere clean in order to breathe and enjoy fresh air.



Drivers often get frustrated when they approach a highway work zone, especially with the warning that “fines are doubled in a work zone.”  The leading cause of highway construction worker injuries and fatalities is contact with construction vehicles, objects, and equipment.  Through a number of good practices, these injuries and deaths can be preventable. 

More roadwork is being done as our highway infrastructure ages, and many transportation agencies are focusing on rebuilding and improving existing roadways.  Therefore, more roadwork is performed on roads that are open to traffic.  Traffic continues to grow and create more congestion, especially in urban areas.  Some urban areas are doing more night work in order to avoid major lines of traffic during peak travel periods.  With more work done alongside increasingly heavier traffic and greater use of night work, increased safety considerations should be given to highway workers.  They are doing their job in order to make your highways safer and better.  Two regulations and resources on good practices that can help workers perform their jobs safely are: 

  • MUTCD Part 6, Section 6D.03:  Requires the use of high-visibility safety apparel by workers who are working within the rights-of-way of Federal-aid highways.
  • High Visibility Standard: Provides a guide for the design, performance specifications, and use of high-visibility and reflective apparel including vests, jackets, bib-jumpsuit coveralls, trousers, and harnesses. 

Roadway maintenance activities occur close to traffic, which creates a potentially dangerous environment for workers, drivers, and incident responders.  In many cases, a Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) Zone will be needed to protect both workers and incident responders, as well as to allow for the safe movement of road users through or around these zones. 

All workers who are involved with planning, installation, maintenance, and removal of a TTC Zone should have the appropriate safety and TTC Training.  Drivers should be given adequate advance warning about the upcoming work zone to all road users by using the appropriate traffic control devices, such as cones or signs.  Highway workers do not want to interfere with traffic; however, it is up to drivers to slow down, relax, and pay attention.  The “double your traffic fine in work zones” should get your attention. 

Mobile work moves intermittently or continuously.  The same devices and vehicles apply to mobile work can be used for short duration operations.  Examples of mobile work include:  pavement marking installation; pavement sweeping; mowing in the highway right-of-way; and snow removal.  Law enforcement officers and first responders may be involved in assisting persons involved in accidents; drivers should stop if necessary or get out of their way if possible.  All persons working on or around work zones should be given the courtesy of working safely.  Drivers should watch for temporary signs, lights, or other warning devices and begin to slow down in plenty of time. 

Let’s keep our highways safe, for ourselves, and for the men and women who work to keep them safe for everyone.


Monday, September 6th,   millions of American workers will celebrate Labor Day. Wrapping up summer fun, and beginning school, this will be the last holiday until Thanksgiving.  Labor Day became a federal holiday in the United States in 1894, and is always observed the first Monday in September. 

Labor Day is also known as the second deadliest holiday of the year, with Thanksgiving coming in at #1.  So, while you are busy making plans for that three-day weekend, please give some thought to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.  You know that your friendly State Troopers are going to be out in full-force, and their number one priority is seeing that you travel safely.  You may think that they are just out to get you, but as long as you drive at speeds designated by the law, and have your seat belt buckled, they won’t bother you.  One way to guarantee that is to head for your destination in plenty of time, allowing you to arrive on time.  Be sure to have your cell phone handy, but please don’t text and drive.  One of your passengers can answer your phone, or you can retrieve your messages once you have stopped driving. 

AAA expects 34.4 million Americans to travel this holiday weekend, from Thursday September 2nd, through Monday, September 6th.   Most will be going at least 50 miles from home, with the average miles travelled around 635.  If you are one of those travelers, be sure you watch for the other driver (drive defensively), motorcycles and bicycles.  Everyone should show the same respect on the roads that they expect to receive.  Driving and drinking just don’t mix, and those Driving Under the Influence (alcohol, drugs), will be arrested.  The same goes for BUI, pertaining to someone driving a boat under the influence; they will be subject to arrest, too. 

If you are going on an outing, such as fishing, camping, hiking, etc., be sure to take along your sunscreen, first aid kit, sunglasses, insect repellent, and protective gear.  Because the weather is still warm, you’ll want to keep all perishable food items cold, and not leave them out of the ice chest for more than one hour.  Taking along a NOAA weather radio would be a good plan, too, as this time of the year, there may be weather changes that would affect your outdoor activities.

 Wherever the roads take you, obey the law and stay safe.  Everyone traveling expects to return to work next Tuesday.  Do your part to see that they do.  

P.S.  Let’s hope that we have more American workers to honor next year; there are thousands who NEED jobs desperately.  Be thankful for the one you have.


By now, everyone has seen the massive stadium in Arlington, Texas, that is home to the Dallas Cowboys.  On December 3, two men who were working at the top of the stadium fell 50’ to 75’on the roof of that building.  They had stepped out from the retractable roof, and after discovering the icy surface, they slid down to a roof gutter.  One of the injured persons called for help on his cell phone.  If the gutter had not been there, they would have fallen more than 200 more feet, and the end of the story would probably have been much worse.

The bad part of the story is, from all accounts, they were not wearing safety harnesses, according to numerous news media accounts.  On a later report, a harness was shown that they claimed to be wearing; however, it was not hooked to anything!  If you take a look at that building, how could anyone step out on top of that thing without safety equipment?

OSHA immediately began an investigation, which could take several months.

The Arlington Fire and Rescue team got the workers down.  After taking about 30 minutes to reach the injured men, twelve to fifteen firefighters worked their way down with ropes, baskets and ladders, accomplishing the feat in around 90 minutes.  One man was taken by air rescue to a hospital, and the other transferred to a hospital by ambulance.  Their injuries were serious, but not life-threatening.  Thank goodness for this rescue team, which has been preparing for such a rescue since construction began on the $1.2 billion stadium.

There will probably be much more information disclosed once the investigation is complete.  In the meantime, it is very inappropriate for companies to not have adequately trained workers that risk their lives to do very treacherous jobs.  Standing on top of a football stadium that is more than 300’ to the ground would require the very best personal protective equipment, (i.e., harnesses, lanyards) to safeguard human lives.  It will be interesting to see what facts come out.

Again, every time we see an accident, we need to realize that without our rapid response teams, we would be in deep trouble.  They risk their lives to get us out of some pretty good pickles!