Maritime Union Calls for Safety Overhaul of Pearling Boats

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has requested an immediate occupational health and safety inspection of all pearling vessels operating in northern Australia.

A 22-year-old died in the waters south of Broome earlier this year on just his second day of working.

The MUA’s assistant national secretary, Ian Bray, says, “It’s clear that an urgent audit of safety and training in the pearling industry is needed.”

“Clearly, self-regulation has not worked and the industry has been notoriously difficult to deal with from a union perspective.

“While an immediate overhaul of practices is needed, this industry also needs a dramatic change in culture, to allow the workforce to have a greater say in training and safety.

“Nobody wants to shut this industry down. What we want is a responsible industry that makes the safety and training of its workforce the highest priority.”

Mr Bray says the MUA is calling for:

*The immediate formation of a joint MUA-Government occupational health and safety audit squad, to inspect pearling vessels across Northern Australia;

*The immediate and mandatory introduction of safety divers on all pearling vessels;

*Appropriate first aid training for deckhands and skippers on all pearling vessels;

*Better training and induction courses to better prepare first-time divers for the dangerous work of drift diving; and

*A mandatory requirement for a higher ratio of experienced to trainee divers on all pearling vessels.


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