New guidance for the safety of dock workers

30-Apr-2014 The Health and Safety Executive, has worked with Port Skills and Safety and Unite the union to produce a new, simpler Approved Code of Practice and signposting guidance document for the docks industry.

The new guidance (Safety in Docks: Approved Code of Practice and guidance – L148) replaces the existing Approved Code of Practice (COP25) which has been withdrawn as part of the revocation of the Docks Regulations 1988.

This Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) is more concise and will help dutyholders understand what they need to do to comply with the general duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and other relevant regulations. Topics covered include Workplace Transport, Falls from Height and Lifting Operations. The new ACoP has been developed to address both the larger end of the industry as well as those engaged in dock work in smaller locations (e.g. small harbours, quays, etc).

The ACoP is supplemented by the Safety in Ports guidance sheet series which has been produced by Port Skills and Safety (PSS) with support from Unite and HSE. These sheets are endorsed by HSE and are freely available via both the HSE and PSS websites. These sheets together with the new ACOP will deliver a comprehensive and coherent package of guidance for the industry.

Vincent Joyce, HSE’s Head of Transportation, said:

“The removal of the regulations is part of a package of revocations that streamline and clarify the regulatory framework. 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.

 To download the guidance free of charge or purchase a hard copy please go to and for more information you can visit

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