Today April 28, World Day for Safety and Health at Work, should be recalled the importance of S&H challenges that the port sector is facing, and the evolving training needs related to this matter. Both, S&H challenges and training needs, are part of EUPORTRAItS core activities.
The growth in world trade, the change in the cargo handling technologies, the introduction of new information and communication technologies and the increasing integration of port services within the transport chain operations, have transformed port work in recent years. These fundamental changes in the port sector have changed dramatically the skills required of port workers and the training needed to comply with the industry requirements.
The White Paper on Transport calls for developing a framework on the training of port workers in different fields of port activities and this goal is one of the focal points of the on-going EU effort to review and reshape European Port Policy (EPP).
On the other hand, the recent Communication from the Commission titled “Ports: an engine for growth” (COM(2013) 295) highlights the issue of port work as one of its cornerstones.
The Communication identifies several actions to be pursued, including the creation of a port sector Social Dialogue Committee (SDC, launched in June 2013). It highlights the issue of port work as an occupation with high risk of accidents and health implications for workers. It calls for the launching of a concerted action to examine health and safety (H&S) and training and qualification challenges in EU ports, with the involvement of the Social Dialogue Committee. EUPORTRAItS is the project through which this action is taking place.
As reflected in EC’s recent study “Port Labour in the EU - Labour Market, Qualifications & Training, Health & Safety” (Portius, 2014), “the authors of ILO's latest Code of Practice on Safety and Health in Ports note, technical developments, including the introduction of increasingly sophisticated cargo handling equipment have greatly increased capacity and reach. While many of these changes in cargo handling methods have resulted in significant improvements of the safety of port workers, some changes have introduced new hazards and port work is still regarded as an occupation with very high accident rates”.
Project’s scope is to examine the current “map of the EU ports human capital” in relation to the sector’s needs and requirements for well educated, trained & qualified staff who can ensure, under the spectrum of technological changes, safe and efficient operations in EU ports industry.
The specific objectives and actions of EUPORTRAItS include to identify and prioritize health and safety issues in the port sector. For this purpose, EUPORTRAItS partners are going to work with the H&S sub-committee of the SDC to identify H&S issues and set priorities for current and future H&S training needs, while elaborating on risks related to future jobs and considering measures to prevent incidents.