The British Ports Association (BPA) has collaborated with TT Club to publish a paper looking into workplace guidance for UK ports and how the country’s most vital hubs can assess risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the BPA said the paper is part of the BPA’s Port Futures Programme, which considers emerging and innovative trends in the ports sector. It contains a list of factors operators should consider as part of their risk assessments and management plans during the COVID-19 outbreak.
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.
“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.
UK ports had “demonstrated their resilience” by continuing to facilitate 95% of the country’s trade throughout the lockdown period. They have been a vital gateway for food, fuel and medicinal supplies.
For that reason, port workers were identified as ‘key workers’ by the government, and the BPA have said they will continue to need support as the lockdown begins to be lifted.
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 no 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.”