Introduction, scope, implementation and definitions

1. Introduction, scope, implementation
and definitions
1.1. Introduction
1.1.1. General overview of the port industry
1. The international port industry dates from the earli-
est days of civilization. Since that time it has developed
steadily over the years. However, cargo-handling methods
that were both arduous and dangerous remained largely un-
changed until the introduction of containers and roll-on-
roll-off (“ro-ro”) systems in the 1960s. Technical develop-
ments have continued since then, including the introduction
of increasingly sophisticated cargo-handling equipment
with greatly increased capacity and reach. While many of
these changes in cargo-handling methods have resulted in
significant improvements for the safety of portworkers,
some changes have introduced new hazards and port work is
still regarded as an occupation with very high accident rates.
Moreover, privatization in the industry has led to consider-
able changes in the organization of ports and the employ-
ment of people in them, including increased use of non-
permanent workers. Fortunately, systems for identifying
and managing risks have also been developed and the need
for investment in the training and skills of portworkers has
been increasingly recognized.
2. Each port needs to develop working practices that will
safeguard the safety and health of portworkers in the light of
its own specific circumstances; these can be based on guide-
lines, such as those included in this code of practice, and on
the well-established general principles set out in the relevant

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