Stevedoring company spends $425,000 in first-ever maritime Enforceable Undertaking

20 October 2020

Maritime NZ has accepted an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) from one of New Zealand’s biggest stevedoring companies, ISO Limited, after a near-fatal incident involving one of their workers in December 2017.

The EU will cost ISO Limited $425,000, plus financial amends made to the victim.

The stevedore, who was trying to get down from logs stacked above a ship’s deck, fell eight metres onto a concrete wharf at Port of Tauranga. Maritime NZ investigated and filed charges against ISO Limited under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA).

Maritime NZ’s Central Region Compliance Manager, Michael-Paul Abbott, said the EU is the first in the maritime industry.

Mr Abbott said EUs are legally enforceable agreements that can be used as an alternative to prosecution and are not an easy option.

“Their aim is to improve health and safety at a workplace and across an industry, and to remedy harm caused to workers and their families. We took into account the significant commitment made by ISO to raising health and safety standards in the industry and the fact that the company had committed to provide ongoing support for the injured worker and his family.

ISO consulted with the Amalgamated Stevedores Union, the injured man and his family, the Port Industry Association, Port of Tauranga, and ship charterers when it was drafting the EU.

“By working openly with all these groups and in what it has offered in the EU, ISO has shown a serious commitment to improving safety,” Mr Abbott said.

“The money it is committing to spend is an investment in safety that will help stevedores in ports around the country.” The company that operated the ship where the incident occurred, China Navigation Company PTE Limited, was sentenced in July this year following a prosecution by Maritime NZ under the Maritime Transport Act. The company pleaded guilty and was fined $24,000 and ordered to pay $30,000 in reparations.

Summary of Enforceable Undertaking

ISO Limited will:

  • Develop and deliver a national training program for management personnel on working at heights in stevedoring operations. This will include risk management, the supply and maintenance safety equipment, ensuring the competency of all involved, delivering training to all ISO’s 400 stevedoring staff and ensuring the injured worker is involved in developing and delivering the training.
  • Research and develop solutions for access to and egress from above-deck cargo (getting on and off cargo stacked above decks is difficult and can be dangerous).
  • Research and develop alternative methods of descending from above-deck cargo in case of emergency.
  • Develop a stevedores’ ship safety database by working with the Port Industry Association to create a national online portal where stevedores can share and access information about ships and incidents, from which to identify problematic ships and identify solutions.
  • Continue to provide the injured worker with ongoing support.
  • Make suitable donations to the Philips Search and Rescue Trust, one of whose air-ambulances transported the injured man between hospitals, and to the pre-school the man’s children attend.

For more information about Enforceable Undertakings, Maritime NZ’s policy and a copy of the ISO EU, see below:

Enforceable Undertakings

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