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Seventh workplace death on the Irish docks in the last two years sparks calls for urgent action

news Press Release 17 Aug 2019

The tragic death of Nicholas 'Nick' Collier marks the seventh death of a worker in an Irish port in the past two years.

Published reports indicate a refrigeration unit was being loaded onto the back of the driver’s truck when he was struck and killed by another vehicle.

Paddy Crumlin, chair of the ITF Dockers’ Section today demanded that the stevedoring industry put an end to the carnage on Ireland’s docks: "We call on stevedoring companies to reassess their working practices and health and safety protections for workers. These companies must undertake proper risk assessments of all cargo-handling procedures in consultation with their workforce.

“It's not good enough, it's not acceptable, that workers are being killed because of shoddy safety practices and short cuts that save time and put money in the pockets of those that should actually be punished."

“This is why industrial manslaughter laws are so important because they not only provide an avenue to true justice for the families of those people killed at work, but because the implementation and enforcement of industrial manslaughter laws will force the cultural change that will hopefully lead to fewer deaths at work,” said Crumlin

Jerry Brennan, Ports, Docks and Harbour Organizer for the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union told media this week that these tragedies are occurring with frightening regularity.

“It is beyond my comprehension how the construction industry has had the benefit of a national safe-pass certificate requirement for almost 30 years and yet there is no such corresponding national requirement within our ports and docks.

“We extend our condolences to the family, loved ones and colleagues of the deceased worker. We also hope that this is the final such fatality before the long necessary action is taken to ensure our ports and docks become safer working environments,” said Brennan.

Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s Minister for Business, has agreed to a demand by SIPTU and the ITF to meet to discuss safety solutions.

International reports document port deaths at an alarming rate of more than one worker killed every week of the year.

The ITF continues to work with industry and regulatory associations to develop and enforce solutions to address such unacceptable carnage, including a campaign of industrial manslaughter laws that send a clear message to negligent employers – if you fail to provide a safe workplace and a worker is killed, you will go to jail.

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