The Port of Napier holds to mark Worker Memorial Day

Napier Port’s many cranes are among the risks being managed at a $3.5 million effort this year to prevent workplace injuries. Photo / NZME

Shipping operations in the Port of Napier will be suspended for up to an hour on Thursday to commemorate International Worker Memorial Day in Hawke’s Bay.

It takes place outside the Seafarers Center just south of the harbor at the north end of Marine Parade and starts at 10am.

Port CEO Todd Dawson said it’s “important to all of us and that’s why we’re pausing operations to give everyone the opportunity to attend every year”.

It comes at a time when further inquiries are being made about port security across the country, following fatalities at the ports of Auckland and Lyttelton in the last week.

Napier Port has not had a fatality in more than 16 years, but Dawson said: “We cannot stress enough that working in ports is inherently hazardous and hazardous and something we take very seriously and are prioritizing here.

“It’s something we never take our eyes off of, we review it constantly and it has strong support and endorsement from the board/director level through our company,” he said. “Our entire team is involved in our ongoing risk mitigation programs.”

In 2019, Napier Port Co began a three-year “health and safety roadmap” to identify critical risk areas and make the port as safe as possible, he said.

“Critical risks focus on hazards with the potential to cause serious harm or fatality both on land and at sea,” he said, adding that $3.5 million would be spent on “risk controls” in the current fiscal year.

Dave Marden, secretary of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union’s Hawke’s Bay Port Branch, said the aim of the unions and Napier Port Co was “the same in terms of positive outcomes”, including union representation on the port’s health and safety committee.

“There is no room for complacency,” he said.

The call for an inquiry was launched by the Maritime Union of New Zealand and supported by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Secretary-General Melissa Ansell-Bridges said: “It is deeply worrying that another worker has been killed in ports of Auckland. Something clearly needs to change in the industry.”

Alastair MacLeod, Chairman of Napier Port Co, will be among the speakers at the memorial service, which will also include the opportunity to speak to victims of industrial accidents and those linked to someone who has died in such incidents.

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