Safer Ports Programme
From 1 July 2024, Maritime NZ will be the responsible health and safety regulator on New Zealand’s 13 major ports.
Ports are complex, dynamic, and high-risk environments where there are a number of drivers of harm. Extending Maritime NZ’s Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) designation provides the organisation with the legal mandate and additional resourcing to take a wider view of how port businesses are managing risks, developing systems, performing safety operations, and engaging with workers.
This approach will give us better insight and understanding of how port businesses are developing their systems, and allow us to bring consistency to training approaches and standards, information sharing practices, traffic management and fatigue management plans, reporting, and more.
It will also allow us to employ a targeted harm prevention approach to improve safety culture, embed new health and safety practices, more effectively work with and regulate port-based businesses, and ultimately reduce harm to the people employed both on ships and at ports.
Currently, accidents or incidents that take place on land must be reported to WorkSafe, and those that take place on vessels and ship to wharf must be reported to Maritime NZ.
From 1 July 2024, most incidents that take place on ports – with some exceptions – will be reported to Maritime NZ.
WorkSafe will remain responsible for regulating major hazard facilities on ports. It will also remain responsible for issuing permits, licences, and other types of authorisations under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Maritime NZ will be responsible for ensuring that businesses and workers on ports hold the necessary permits and licence.
To ensure Maritime NZ is ready to perform its new regulatory responsibilities from 1 July 2024, the Safer Ports Programme has been established.
The Safer Ports Programme links back into the Port Health and Safety Leadership Group, Maritime’s Ports and Harbours Governance Group, and an inter-agency HSWA group.
In the last quarter of 2023, Maritime NZ is visiting each of the 13 major ports to establish profiles of port operations. These visits play a key role to help us understand and define the extension of the designation at each port.
We are also working with WorkSafe to ensure a smooth transition of the extended designation.
In May 2022, following two fatalities in New Zealand ports, the previous Minister of Transport asked the Port Health and Safety Leadership Group to provide advice on what actions could can be taken to address health and safety harms at ports.
The Leadership Group, which consists of employers, unions, the Port Industry Association, and government agencies, worked together to create the Port Sector Insights Picture and Action Plan which is a foundation for the group’s multi-year harm prevention programme.
Through the Action Plan, the Leadership Group recommended that the health and safety activities Maritime NZ already performs on ships be extended onto the land side of New Zealand’s 13 major ports.
Find out more about the Port Health and Safety Leadership Group.