MIDDLE EAST – The ITF Seafarers Trust, the UK based charitable arm of the International Transport Workers' Federation union group, has launched a new, three stage occupational safety and health (OSH) education programme for port workers.
Commencing in Aqaba, Jordan this ambitious programme will be rolled out in the ITF Arab World covering 31 ports in 12 countries and engaging with some thirty six ITF affiliated dockers trade unions with the potential to reach some 60,000 workers. The programme features an app based awareness raising component followed by face-to-face training and work place assignments.
It is designed to increase worker participation in the OSH agenda, complementing company initiatives where they exist thus creating a safer environment for both dockers and seafarers visiting the ports. Speaking at the launch, Katie Higginbottom, Head of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust said:
“Occupational safety and health in the maritime sector is priority area for the Trust and we are delighted to be working with committed leaders in a region with enormous challenges. We have brought together a team with exceptional technical skills and experience and aim to have a dramatic and sustainable impact over time. This is a win-win for maritime workers and their employers.”
After Jordan, where the Trust project benefits from the strong support of the ITF’s regional office in Amman and the ITF Dockers’ Section OSH Working Group, the programme will be introduced into Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia and Yemen. ITF Regional Chair Seddik Berrama, commented:
“We are overjoyed, workers in this region are determined to improve their health and safety outcomes. This programme will set them on a path of progress. Ports are inherently dangerous places. All workers deserve to come home to their families at the end of the shift. The Seafarers Trust health and safety programme is a game changer for us.”
The initiative for the project came after a request to the Seafarers’ Trust for help with an ambulance in the Port of Tunis as ITF Regional Secretary, Bilal Malkawi, explained:
”[This request] resulted in a serious discussion around cause and effect. We are convinced that this training programme will go a long way towards educating workers to play a key role in prevention and ultimately reducing the number of accidents and tragic fatalities.”
Photo: Things have moved on considerably in the Port of Tunis since this photo of the discharge of a cargo of grain was taken circa 1950.