As businesses across the UK strive to regain levels of activity with the easing of restrictions, it is imperative to maintain the safety and well-being of all workers and more important than ever for employers to understand the unusual risks that they and their workforce face under unique circumstances. TT Club, a leading international insurance provider specialising in the cargo handling sector and an Associate Member of the British Ports Association (BPA) has prepared a short paper for UK ports and terminals to consider as part of their risk assessment and management plans during the COVID-19 outbreak.
UK ports have demonstrated their resilience by continuing to facilitate 95% of the UK’s trade throughout the lockdown period, which includes half of the country’s food imports, along with medicines, energy and fuel. Those port workers responsible for making it happen have been identified as ‘key workers’ by the Government and continue to need support as the lockdown now starts to be gradually lifted.
The TT Club paper (available Here) is part of the BPA’s Port Futures Programme, which considers emerging and innovative trends in the ports sector.
Commenting on the TT Club paper, Sara Walsh, Corporate Services Manager, at the British Ports Association said: “During this rather unusual and challenging time, all UK ports are under a lot of pressure. They are having to make difficult decisions about how best to maintain their workforce so critical tasks are performed and legal duties met, whilst also supporting staff who are working at home or are self-isolating.
We are pleased to be working with TT Club to produce this short paper that addresses some of the key things UK ports and terminals must continue to prioritise when managing their workforce during COVID-19 and its immediate aftermath.
The maritime sector is like no other and has worked together during this unprecedented time to overcome the challenges faced as best it can whilst still ensuring food, medicines, energy, fuel and other products continue to flow into the country.”
TT Club is a mutual insurer, formed by the transport industry for the benefit of the industry. Its mission is to make the industry safer and more secure and therefore prioritises risk management and loss prevention, promoting the development and implementation of sound operating practices to the port and terminals sector. In the current COVID-19 pandemic, TT Club has a wealth of guidance to the industry as a whole through its dedicated web page that can be accessed here https://www.ttclub.com/news-events/coronavirus-guidance/
Michael Yarwood, TT Club’s Managing Director for Loss Prevention commented on his organisation’s report for the BPA: “Like many other sectors who have ‘key workers’, those who work at UK ports and terminals are in a unique position as the vast majority of roles cannot be performed at home.
We have compiled a list of factors operators should consider as part of their risk assessments and management plans during the COVID-19 outbreak. From social distancing, cleaning facilities, personal protective equipment, shift patterns, communications to remote working and health and well-being, ports must continue to support their staff and ensure all risks are managed as best they can be.
We are committed to supporting the industry in this effort and are continuing to create and collect resources such as this paper to guide good practice.”
In further support of the ports sector during the pandemic, Port Skills and Safety, the industry body for port health and safety with which BPA works closely is developing a ‘Gazetteer’ document that will signpost the various government and industry guidance documents available.
Ports of all size and type are having to alter their usual ways of working to ensure social distancing measures can be followed as much as possible. The Gazetteer will be circulated to BPA members and can be consulted here, Ports Coronavirus Hub. It is intended as a living document, updated as new government and industry guidance continues to be published.