Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 700 - 719)

WEDNESDAY 28 MARCH 2001

MR PETER JONES, MR ALEC DON, MR CHRIS GRAY, MR PAUL DAVEY AND MR TERENCE MORDAUNT

  700. And casual employees?
  (Mr Gray) We do not have any casual employees.
  (Mr Mordaunt) We have absolutely no casual employees at all.

  701. What is your situation so far as safety is concerned?
  (Mr Mordaunt) We have a training school with seven permanent people and the trainers and are our safety officers as well. We have taken it extremely seriously. It is a dangerous environment, no one can getaway from that. I can only tell you that our record is better since privatisation than before, but better is never good enough, it has certainly got better since privatisation.

  702. It may be getting better but the fact is that it is still extremely dangerous in relation to what else is happening in other industries. Every industry is looking at safety far more seriously than they ever have, therefore there is a driving down of the figure, yet you still remain at the top of the dangerous league.
  (Mr Mordaunt) I keep coming back to the European Port Services Directive but that, in my view, will make things significantly difficult.

Chairman

  703. For the moment we are asking about the 523 people you employ. These are all permanent you say.
  (Mr Mordaunt) Everyone is permanent.

  704. What about the other 500 you referred to?
  (Mr Mordaunt) They are not employed by us.

  705. Is the safety record worse amongst those people, are they non-permanent employees?
  (Mr Mordaunt) Basically they are the employees of companies, they are tenants on our estate. When somebody has a lease we have no ability to tell them what to do and how to run their estate.

  706. Are we to assume that the 523 people are in a part of the port where the safety record is getting much better—
  (Mr Mordaunt) Correct.

  707.—and, therefore, the problems are all with the other 500 that you do not control?
  (Mr Mordaunt) I am not aware there is a problem with the other 500.

  708. You know that the port industry has been designated by the Health and Safety Executive as being one of the most dangerous. You tell us that it is getting much better, has done since privatisation? Where is the problem?
  (Mr Mordaunt) I am saying that our own record is better, I cannot talk for the other ports.

  709. Your own record is better.

Mr Bennett

  710. Is it better compared to the Health and Safety Executive average for the industry?
  (Mr Mordaunt) I cannot answer that question, I can certainly find out for you and come back to you. I sincerely hope that it is.

Mr Donohoe

  711. Are you not in favour of self-regulating as far as safety is concerned?
  (Mr Mordaunt) I am very happy to be as deeply involved in safety as can be, anywhere where you give us the power to enforce good standards.

  712. Give us a practical example?
  (Mr Mordaunt) Because in Bristol we run the stevedoring, we control the pilots—we do not own the tug company—we virtually control the whole operation. My view is that it is much safer to have one management controlling the whole operation and have our safety officers police the whole thing.

  713. Why then are there two separate bodies dealing with the safety and training in ports?
  (Mr Mordaunt) I guess it is historic, we have a close relationship with one, we actually pioneered the Port Apprenticeship Scheme. We have no problem with the other one. It is a good question why there are two, but I cannot answer it.

  714. Would you not make representations to say that there should only be one. I am asking you all of the questions, if anybody else thinks any different?

  Chairman: Which of you are members of BPIT?

Mr Donohoe

  715. Are you all members of both organisations?
  (Mr Gray) We are members of PSO.
  (Mr Mordaunt) We are BPIT.
  (Mr Jones) We are PSO, but not BPIT.

Chairman

  716. Let Mr Donohoe ask you, Mr Jones.
  (Mr Jones) We have a substantial training activity ourselves within the port of Liverpool.

  717. You do not need anybody else.
  (Mr Jones) We do not believe that we would gain anything from membership of BPIT.

Mr Donohoe

  718. Do you not see a case for putting the two together?
  (Mr Jones) I think in our view the more important need for a national organisation is on the port safety front, where clearly experiences can be shared and risks can be notified to other port operators and appropriate action can be disseminated throughout the industry. We do not feet that BPIT necessarily has a similar role to play in relation to training.

Chairman

  719. You do not agree with the Government, who say, "BPIT's role is undermined by the fact that some major ports do not contribute properly to the management and cost".
  (Mr Jones) We do not feel that we would gain significantly from being a member of BPIT, no.


 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 26 July 2001