FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charleston, SC – The South Carolina State Ports Authority, stevedores and longshoremen in the Port of Charleston today announced the formation of a new Port Safety Council.
Although the South Carolina State Ports Authority owns and operates all container lifting equipment in the Port of Charleston, stevedoring firms employ and supervise members of labor union locals to perform many essential tasks.
The new Port Safety Council will include senior representatives from stevedoring firms, local dockworkers and the Ports Authority. While the Ports Authority and the stevedores have maintained, and will continue to maintain, their own safety programs, the new Port Safety Council is a formalized version of joint safety meetings.
“Port safety, just like productivity, is a team effort,” said David Hogan, president of ILA Local 1771. “The Port Safety Council will allow us to work closer.”
The Port Safety Council will be tasked with reviewing and addressing any issues raised by regular meetings of a new Port Safety Working Group. The Working Group will consist of stevedores, longshoremen and Ports Authority employees involved in port operations on a daily basis.
There is no indication that such a group could have prevented any of the recent accidents at the Port of Charleston.
However, Bill McLean, the Ports Authority's vice president, operations said, “The waterfront looked around after the recent accidents and asked, ‘What can we do?' This is something concrete that we can do to help bolster safety and awareness.”
The new group will focus on best practices, ways to boost safety and communication between the various groups.
“You have to be vigilant when it comes to safety,” said Larry Young, president of the South Carolina Stevedores Association. “This new initiative will provide a channel for issues to be communicated and addressed.”