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Managing Risks in Stevedoring

Stevedoring operations are diverse, and may include container terminals, bulk and general stevedoring facilities where vessels are loaded and unloaded, cargo received and delivered, and wharves used for stacking and storing.

If you're a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) or other duty holder involved in such operations, or you've management or control of any workplace where stevedoring operations are carried out (e.g. ship owners, port authorities), the Code of Practice: Managing Risks in Stevedoring (PDF 1184kb) provides practical advice on managing or minimising health and safety risks arising from your business or undertaking.

You have a primary duty of care to manage risks associated with stevedoring or, if that is not reasonably practicable, to minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable. You also have specific requirements to manage other likely risks in your industry such as noise, hazardous manual tasks, falls, hazardous chemicals and plant.

General stevedoring activities covered in this Code may include:

  • loading and unloading of vessel cargo (e.g. containers, cars)
  • loading and unloading of non-containerised cargo transported as individual pieces due to being oversized and/or overweight (e.g. construction equipment, oil and gas equipment, wind towers, steel)
  • roll on/roll off loading and unloading of cargo via ramps to vessels (e.g. cars, bulldozers)
  • bulk loading and unloading of products not separately packaged but rather loaded in bulk onto a ship (e.g. grain, liquids, iron ore, coal)
  • passenger vessels.


The Code should be used in conjunction with South Australia's work health and safety laws and other relevant legislation such as:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Code of Practice: Safety and Health in Ports provides detailed information on port operations. It may also be used as guidance to help you understand and manage stevedoring risks.

Our fact sheet tells you more about the code.