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New ILO-supported health and safety app welcomed by dockers’ unions

news Press Release 22 Aug 2021

Port workers who download the OSH Ports app and complete the short course can then take an assessment and receive an official completion certificate. The app is supported by the International Labour Organization’s International Training Centre (ILO-ITC), whose experts provided important contributions to its content.

The new occupational safety and health training app is funded by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust and is free to download. OSH Ports is available on the Google Play Store for Android devices from today. The content and curriculum of the app was developed with strong input from dockworkers themselves through ITF-affiliated unions, in addition to those of the ILO-ITC.

“This is an app developed by dockers, for dockers backed up by expert technical advice. Because it’s been driven by workers, everything in there has been built from the ground up with a docker in mind,” said Paddy Crumlin, chair of the ITF Dockers’ Section.

The app takes port workers through occupational health and safety fundamentals specific to the ports sector, covering how and why things go wrong in ports, identifying hazards and risks that may affect workers and their workmates, and best-practice guidance on how they can contribute to accident investigations. The app is available in both English and in Arabic.

ITF Dockers' Section Chair and ITF President Paddy Crumlin said dockers, seafarers and fishers across the Middle East and North Africa faced deadly risks daily at work  | (Credit: ITF)

Crumlin, who is also an ITF Seafarers’ Trust trustee, said the charity was being approached to help reduce the concerning number of preventable accidents and fatalities in ports. He said that the ITF Seafarers’ Trust and unions have been working together to reduce workplace accidents and deaths particularly in the Middle East and north Africa.

“Right now, it makes complete sense to roll out this important tool first to the Arab World. Dockers, seafarers and fishers in the region face deadly risks every day due to a lack of adequate investment in safety, and safety and health education.”

“While it’s up to the port owners, the governments, or the global operators who own the assets, to stump up the cash for safer equipment; what we can do as dockers’ unions is help educate our sisters and brothers to think safer, spot dangers, prevent accidents where they can, and speak up when they see fatal shortcuts being taken,” said Crumlin.

Dockers' unions say they see the app as the first phase of a wider push to reduce accidents and fatalities at ports in accident hotspots such as the Arab World region.


Jessica Isbister, vice chair of the ITF Dockers’ Section Occupational Safety and Health Working Group (DOSH) said the ITF global dockers family was committed to helping port workers protect themselves and each other from harm in ports | (Credit: ILWU)

“Every docker should use this app, complete the course and encourage your workmates to use it too. This is the first stage of our campaign to reduce accidents and fatalities in our industry in the Arab World. The next stage will be to identify leaders to undertake secondary training with industry experts to give them the knowledge and confidence to go back and make significant changes to improve the health and safety of their ports,” said Jessica Isbister from ILWU Canada and vice chair of the ITF Dockers’ Section Occupational Safety and Health Working Group.


  • The course has been launched through unions across the Middle East and is currently available in Arabic and English, with plans to launch the course in other languages in the future.
  • OSH Ports is available on the Google Play Store for Android devices from 23 August 2021.
  • Developers led with launching the app for Android devices first as most users in the region use the Android mobile system over iOS. However, iPhone and iPad users can still use the mobile-friendly website to complete the course, and save their progress as they complete modules.
  • The course is supported by the International Labour Organization’s International Training Centre (ILO-ITC). Experts from the ILO-ITC contributed to the content of the app.
  • See more on this app at from the ITF Seafarers’ Trust.

About the ITF: The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions from 147 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice for nearly 20 million working women and men in the transport industry across the world.

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