Seventh Death on Irish Docks Sparks Call for Action
The ITF has joined Irish dock workers union SIPTU in an urgent call for better protection for all workers in Ireland’s ports, through both regulations and enforcement, after a 50-year-old truck driver was killed in North Docks at Dublin Port on August 14.
The death of Nicholas 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.
In July, 59-year-old Kevin McGeough was killed in a workplace accident in Warrenpoint Port. In November 2018, seafarer Dennis Gomez Regana was killed in a lashing accident on Southbank Quay in Dublin city.
Paddy Crumlin, chair of the ITF Dockers’ Section, said: "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 SIPTU told media that 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.”
Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s Minister for Business, has agreed to meet SIPTU and ITF representatives to discuss safety solutions.
International reports indicate port deaths occur at a rate of more than one per week of the year, says the ITF.