Government claims that Britain's docks are "low risk" and therefore do not require proactive safety inspections were blown out of the water on Wednesday when it was revealed that the industry had over five times the average number of fatal incidents last year.
In the 12 months from January 2011 there have been at least six workers killed on Britain's docks and many more seriously injured, according to research conducted by Hazards magazine.
Yet the Department of Work and Pensions has relabelled dock work as "low risk" under its plans to axe much health and safety legislation.
This combined with cuts to proactive inspections by the Health and Safety Executive and the axing of docks regulations mean the industry is getting less safe not more so, campaigners warn.
In just four months last year five dock workers were killed, two in just four days at Tilbury Docks in Essex.
Ian Campbell was killed on October 23 2011 when the crane he was driving toppled over at Tilbury while on October 26 Peter Hunt, an agency lorry driver, was killed at a distribution centre at Tilbury when a trailer fell on him.
Marine engineer Jason Burden suffered fatal chest injuries on December 8 when a piece of machinery fell on him as he worked for Wear Dock and Engineering Company at South Docks in Sunderland.
Just over a week later, on December 16 Dock worker Neville Wightman died at Ipswich after being crushed by part of a pontoon during an unloading operation.
And Tim Elton, an agency worker working for Grimsby and Immingham Stevedores, was killed on January 27 when he was buried under shifting coal at Immingham Dock.
Families Against Corporate Killing spokeswoman Hilda Palmer told the Star: "An industry that has a death rate of at least five times and may be as much as 20 times the UK average is not a 'low risk' workplace and to treat it as such is stupid at best and criminally negligent at worst.
"Fack calls on this government to reverse their deadly decisions, reinstate proactive inspections so that the HSE inspectors are part of the front line of worker protection not arriving with the ambulances after someone has been killed."
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