Examination of Witnesses (Questions 540
WEDNESDAY 21 MARCH 2001
540. Do you think you have the power to deal
(Mr Starling) They come under HSWA, the Health and
Safety at Work Act.
(Mr Henderson) There is clearly an issue here, which
is precisely why we want to further develop our relationship with
the Maritime Coastguard Agency, certainly our Docks Regulations
do actually apply to shore based employees, and, therefore, HSE
inspectors can enforce in those situations. However, increasingly,
there is the use of the crew for unloading ships.
541. It is the crew for the Maritime and Coastguard
Agency and the when people come from off the shore to do it then
it is your responsibility?
(Mr Henderson) That is correct. The Memorandum of
Understanding does actually set up a degree of flexibility so
that people do not fall between that particular gap. The importance
of involving MCA in this is precisely because they regulate in
terms of safety on ships and the standards of ships. We very much
encourage the dock industry to report where substandard ships
are. I do know that Felixstowe take a line on this particular
542. I want to let you escape, but before I
do I want to ask you two or three quite short questions, why is
it not mandatory to have adequate initial safety training for
all new dock workers?
(Mr Starling) Under the Health and Safety at Work
Act it requires that they should be adequately trained.
543. That is the phrase, is it, "adequately
trained". Do you think you have sufficient power on that
basis? Is it logical to have two separate bodies dealing with
port safety and port training, or should they be brought together?
(Mr Starling) We are agnostic about that, provided
they work effectively together.
544. Are they working effectively together?
(Mr Henderson) It is difficult for us to comment precisely.
We certainly encourage them to do so.
545. Do you find any difficulties because there
are two bodies?
(Mr Henderson) Not unduly. The overwhelming majority
of safety training is undertaken by the PSO. We think that closer
liaison between the two bodies can enhance that.
546. What progress is being made towards improving
the training and the qualifications held by port workers?
(Mr Meldrum) Are you talking in terms of the passport
scheme? That has been the most significant change, and we have
been encouraging it. In fact initial reports from our inspectors,
who have been doing the extra programme of visits this year, indicate
that the scheme has been widely adopted by cargo handlers and
the amount of training provided has increased. There are some
concerns that not all of the training is in accordance with the
induction training standard, which was referred to earlier.
547. Thank you. Finally, do you have view on
this famous Directive that Mrs de Palacio is going to hit us with?
(Mr Starling) Any service, by whatever the nationality,
the law applies to. We hope there will be proper references to
safety from a health and safety point of view. The nationality
of the person operating the service should not affect how it is
548. Are you satisfied that all ports are aware
of their responsibility towards safety?
(Mr Starling) The figures indicate that there is a
long way to go in some port authorities for them to be fully aware
of their responsibility.
549. Thank you. We shall bear in mind your need
for more resources.
(Mr Starling) We did not ask for them.
Chairman: We note you do not. We have been impressed
with your lobbying skills. Thank you for coming.