In the wake of the death this week of Anthony Attard, a father of three who was killed doing his job on board the Toll RoRo vessel Tasmanian Achiever, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is gearing up for a massive escalation of the Waterfront Safety Campaign.
Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith, National Safety Officer Matt Goodwin and Victorian Branch Assistant Secretary Robert Patchett spent several days on the job supporting and working with members in the aftermath of this tragedy.
The HSRs have uncovered a range of serious gaps that require immediate attention before work can safely resume including:
lack of a decent traffic management plan, lack of a dedicated spotter and flagman to coordinate the safe movement of people and vehicles on and off the vessel, lack of commitment to training by Toll, no person in charge at certain times of day, no proper toolbox meetings, no proper post-incident investigation processes, inadequate radios and communication systems, lack of respect or consultation with HSRs, who play a vital role in safety, too much pedestrian movement through the roro operation, workers being required to work alone in cargo care and deck operations.
With the unity and support of the workforce, we are working though each and every safety issue, to make sure no other family ever has to suffer this tragedy, ever again.
Anthony was greatly respected by his workmates, and a proud member of the MUA. Anthony was a delegate and a representative on the EBA committee in the workplace. He was a family man and comrade to all.
The way the workers at Toll have rallied together, united, and supported each other, is a credit to each and every one of them. The wharfies and seafarers at Toll are a class act, there’s no two ways about it.
This latest tragedy highlights why we must fight to make sure that safety is mandatory. There is a safety crisis in stevedoring. These tragedies are not ‘accidents’. There are causes. That’s why we need regulation.
Since he was elected, Tony Abbott has dismantled safety regulation. The Abbott Government has blocked our Stevedoring Code of Practice, and twelve other life-saving codes of practice, which it describes as ‘red tape’.
The Abbott government has instructed AMSA to begin dismantling Marine Order 32, the safety bible for wharfies for over 80 years. This is a disgrace and will worsen the carnage.
Members are advised to prepare for a massive escalation of our Waterfront Safety Campaign. The union is holding a National Bulk and General Safety Conference on 18-19 June in Sydney, with representation from all bulk and general and roro operations, to chart out the direction of the campaign.