The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has urged Hutchison Ports to improve health and safety across its sites around the world after a series of incidents.
ITF’s call follows a number of incidents that occurred across Hutchison Ports’ global operations, particularly the recent one involving a dockworker who fell 7m from her cabin to the concrete below at the Port Botany terminal in Australia.
The 55-year-old worker was put into an induced coma after an emergency brain surgery conducted at a hospital in Sydney, Australia.
At present, Australian police and safety regulators are carrying out an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.
ITF president and Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) national secretary Paddy Crumlin said: “This is the latest case in a pattern of serious health and safety incidents that have occurred recently in Hutchison terminals.
“In the past 18 months in the Asia-Pacific region alone, there have been four fatal incidents at Hutchison’s JICT terminal in Jakarta.
“Reports that MUA officials were not allowed on-site, and that Hutchison has failed its obligations under local laws due to a lack of consultation with health and safety representatives in the lead-up to this tragic accident, are highly concerning.”
ITF and its affiliate unions are urging Hutchison Port to rectify its safety record and alleviate any further risk to its employees.
A Hutchison Ports spokesperson said it was ‘inappropriate’ for the ITF to make these allegations while the worker was still receiving treatment in hospital, saying: “It is both irresponsible and insensitive for anyone to exploit this incident, especially whilst the worker remains in hospital and staff are being counselled.
“It is especially inappropriate to make comment in circumstances where investigations remain ongoing and the primary objective should be the welfare of all workers involved in this very sad event.”
Hutchison Port is a unit of CK Hutchison Holdings and is currently operating ports and terminals in 26 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Australasia.
The company employs more than 30,000 people worldwide.