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New Docks ACOP introduced as 1988 regulations revoked

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A new ACOP and guidance document intended to plug the gap left by the controversial removal of the Docks Regulations 1988 and its associated ACOP has been released in a move designed to “streamline” the ports regulatory package.


HSE says the new guidance, Safety in Docks: Approved Code of Practice and guidance – L148, which replaces the existing Approved Code of Practice (COP25), is more concise than its predecessor and will help dutyholders understand what they need to do to comply with duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other relevant regulations.

Topics covered include workplace transport, falls from height and lifting operations in the context of docks operations. The new ACOP, drawn up by HSE, Port Skills and Safety and Unite the union, addresses both large operators in the industry as well as those engaged in dock work in smaller locations, such as small harbours or quays.

The Docks Regulations 1988 were revoked on 6 April.

The document comes after arguments over the future regulation of the ports industry, with trade union Unite originally saying the removal of the regulations would be a “recipe for disaster”.  

A series of Safety in Ports guidance sheets have also been produced by Port Skills and Safety (PSS) with support from Unite and HSE. The regulator says these sheets together with the new ACOP “will deliver a comprehensive and coherent package of guidance for the industry”.

HSE originally consulted on removing the 1988 regulations and accompanying ACOP in summer 2012, arguing the various legal duties had either been revoked or superseded by more recent legislation, such as the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

It was among the first tranche of 14 regulations deemed “redundant” in the wake of the Löfstedt report.

Although the regulations were due to be abolished on 1 October 2013, HSE postponed their removal until 6 April 2014 to allow the interested parties to finalise the ACOP content. 

“The removal of the regulations is part of a package of revocations that streamline and clarify the regulatory framework,” said Vincent Joyce, HSE’s head of transportation. “This will enable businesses to concentrate on the things that matter and improve the workplace protection for employees and others.

“Although the Docks Regulations are being removed this will not lower safety standards as dutyholders will still have to comply other legislation that provides the same level of protection. Employers who needlessly put workers and the public at risk can still expect to face action from HSE.

“We’ve worked with employers and unions to provide a comprehensive package of guidance and will continue to work with them to ensure that the changes are properly communicated to across the industry.”

In addition to the new ACOP and guidance, HSE has updated its ports website which now includes links to the new ACOP and Safety in Ports guidance sheets.

 

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