Napier Port chairman Alasdair MacLeod is in the last 12 months of what will be nine years on the board, with a quiet and unspoken sense of achievement.
Speaking at Thursday's Hawke's Bay commemoration of International Workers Memorial Day, he didn't mention that there hadn't been a work death at the port in the past nine years.
But he paid respect to 1993 victim Kevin Baker, April 2005 victim Corben Frickleton, and the most-recent loss Rep Taana, who died on March 27, 2006, after the forklift he was operating toppled as plates covering a hole on the wharf displaced.
Taana's death at the time was one of about five in workplaces across Hawke's Bay in a year.
Two other deaths at other ports this month – Auckland on April 19 and Lyttelton on Anzac Day – have thrown a spotlight back on port safety.
Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Wood has directed a Transport Accident Investigation Commission investigation into the fatalities to determine any system-wide lessons to improve safety.
Wood has requested all port companies to "review their operations and provide assurances that the appropriate steps are being taken to minimise the risk of harm for all high risk activities".
He also asked the Ports Leadership Group to prepare advice on additional priority actions for the minister to consider, including whether regulatory changes are required.
MacLeod said the Napier Port Co is putting safety "first and foremost", highlighting the commitment of $3.5 million in the current financial year toward workplace safety improvements.
MacLeod recalled what he had told an appointment panel prior to joining the board in 2014.
Asked what his priorities would be if successful, he replied:
"One - Health and safety. Two - Health and safety. Three - Health and safety. If you can't handle that, I'll leave now."
But he reiterated to the gathering, mainly workers at the port, which shut-down operations for about an hour to enable them to attend, that there was no room for complacency.
MacLeod said that despite the steps in place in Napier "we're not immune from harm".
Retiring in December in accordance with long-standing port policy, MacLeod said: "We are working in an environment where if something goes wrong the results can be catastrophic".
Port container terminal manager Chris Wylie said there was a high emphasis on mental wellbeing and "looking after ourselves and our teammates".
He said every person working at the port is able to stop work immediately if they don't feel safe, and are encouraged to talk about it with their senior staff.
Earlier this week, chief executive Todd Dawson, who was unable to be at the commemoration, told Hawke's Bay Today safety steps being taken included shore tensioning technology and a hydraulic wharfside system that will replace the use of shorelines at the port.
It would minimise the critical risk associated with shore mooring processes, and the same is happening with moor master units being installed on 6 Wharf "which effectively will remove people from potential harm situations", he said.
Council of Trade Unions president Richard Wagstaff said in a media release that memorial day across the country remembered the 63 New Zealanders killed at work in the past year, and up to 900 who died from illnesses contracted "because of their work".
"New Zealand has made some improvements in recent years, but there is still a long way to go," he said.
"We can, and must, do more."
"The CTU has long called for a stronger regime to protect workers and hold those in charge accountable when people are killed," he said.
"New Zealand does not have a corporate manslaughter law, unlike many of the countries we compare ourselves to. Such a regime would be a strong deterrent against companies and management who cut corners and put workers' lives and safety at risk."
Reporter Doug Laing spoke at Thursday's Hawke's Bay commemoration. Laing's son Les died in a workplace accident in Auckland in 2017.