ITF helps secure international container safety code

Sustained campaigning by the ITF’s road, rail, dockers’ and seafarers’ sections has helped secure an international code of practice that sets out new safety guidelines on the packing of containers.

The endorsement by the ILO governing body of the code of practice on the safe packing of cargo transport units on 4 November means it has the approval of all three agencies which developed it – the International Labour Organization, the International Maritime Organization and UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). The agencies collaborated through a joint working group over three years, with the ITF and ILWU Canada and FNV Bondgenoten representatives participating fully in the meetings.

The working group came out of the 2011 ILO global dialogue forum on safety in the supply chain in relation to containers, which was also the result of successful ITF lobbying. The code sets out practical guidelines on packing and securing (including for fumigation and dangerous goods), safe handling, receipt and unpacking; and addresses training and the chain of responsibility.

Mac Urata, ITF inland transport secretary, said: “This code of practice – the first achieved at the three UN agencies to include the road transport sector – is the result of joint efforts by the ITF sections and its affiliates. It is hugely important, as it can be turned into national legislation to make packing, weighing, loading and transporting containers safer for workers and reduce accidents.

“We encourage our affiliates to step up the pressure in their own countries so that as many governments as possible adopt its provisions and get them implemented.”

"The ITF launched a new, cross-sectional container safety campaign at its dedicated day on the subject during its road and rail action week in October. This brings together its road, railway, dockers’ and seafarers’ sections to promote safety and responsibility along the transport chain. The ITF will work with its affiliates to promote the code of practice and press governments to follow Canada’s example by adopting its provisions into national legislation.

Find out how to get involved in the ITF’s container safety campaign.

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