Maritime occupational accidents can be determined by several factors, among which human characteristics play a crucial role. Worker's safety behaviour depends on individual physical and mental characteristics as well as on his/her social and cultural background. The aim of this study is to investigate the frequency of workplace injuries in the Danish merchant fleet in the period 2010-2012, and to characterise its nationality dependence.
Occupational injuries data reported from ships registered in the Danish International Ship Register to the Danish Maritime Authority were collected. Publicly available employment data were used to calculate the cumulative incidence rates for Danish, non-Danish European Union (EU) and non-EU employees working on non-passenger ships. Crude injury rates and rates adjusted for occupational status were statistically compared.
The majority of accidents happened to Danish and non-EU workers on non-passenger ships. The injury rate varied around 70 per 1000 among Danish seafarers, while the rate for non-Danish employees was about 30 per 1000. Crude and adjusted relative risk was found significantly lower for EU (0.33-0.46;0.26-0.39) and for non-EU (0.41-0.53; 0.54-0.65) workers compared to Danish seafarers. The difference decreased, but remained significant in most cases for serious injuries.
Occupational injury rates show considerable nationality differences as reported from non-passenger ships registered under the Danish flag. The differences can only be partly explained by varying reporting practices. The findings confirm the results of previous studies and point out the need for effective interventions in the high-risk groups.
The risk of epidemics represents an important challenge in offshore petroleum activities. All personnel are needed for regular operations, and the outbreak of an epidemic will soon affect the operations. The economical consequences can be vast. The risk of an epidemic is raised due to the closeness of living and catering offshore combined with frequent changes of personnel who travel offshore from many nations. The article is based on the experience gained by the author during 22 years as a senior medical officer in a Norwegian oil company. Some endemics and epidemics are described. None of these resulted in the shutdown of production, but they still represented a major challenge to the company and to the medical staff in particular. The transfer value from experience offshore to ships is obvious but there are differences. Risk analysis and quality assurance systems play an important part in the prevention and limitation of epidemics offshore. The infrastructure of the food supply chain as well as education and training of personnel are key elements. Campaigns on different hygiene topics that address all personnel are launched at regular intervals. Contingency plans must be established and be ready for use in case of a threatening epidemic. Identification of the type and source of the infection or food poisoning, isolation of the infected personnel, safe evacuation of patients, and the establishment of other necessary barriers for reduction of spread of infection are necessary to control an outbreak of an epidemic.
The purpose of the study was to study the circumstances and incidence rates of fatal accidents in inspection obligated and non-inspection obligated Danish fishing vessels to identify areas for prevention. Information about the fatalities came from maritime authority reports, including vessel disaster reports, post mortem reports, maritime inquiries and police reports. The person- and vessel years at risk came from the Danish Directorate of Fisheries. During the period 1989-2005, 114 fatalities occurred. Sixty-one of the fatalities occurred in 36 vessel disasters mainly caused by foundering/capsizing due to stability changes in rough weather and collisions; 39 fatal occupational accidents mainly occurred on the larger inspection obligated trawlers during fishing. In the remaining 14 other fatal accidents, the main causal factors were difficult embarking/disembarking conditions by darkness in foreign ports and alcohol intoxication. In the period 1995-2005, the overall incidence rate was 10 per 10,000 fishermen per year with no down-going trend during that period. The fatal accident rates are still too high, despite the efforts to reduce the risk. Increased focus on regular and repeated safety training for all fishermen and improved safety measures are needed, especially in the underscored areas of sea disasters concerning small vessels and occupational accidents on big vessels. Better registration of time at risk for fishermen is needed to validate the effect of the safety measures.
AIMS: Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a leading occupational disease and some seafarers and fishermen may be at high risk. We present here standardized hospital contact ratios (SHCRs) for hearing loss among Danish seafarers and fishermen. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cohorts of all Danish seafarers registered by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) and fishermen retrieved from a 1989-1998 pension registry were linked to the nationwide Occupational Hospitalisation Registry (OHR) with follow-up for NIHL from 1994 to 2003, using rates specific for age and calendar time for the entire Danish workforce as a reference. RESULTS: We found high SHCRs for NIHL: 165 [95% confidence interval (CI) 131-206] among officers, 113 (79-157) for nonofficers and 119 (85-162) for fishermen. The increased SHCR for hearing impairment among seafarers was solely found in engine room personnel (SHCR = 222; 95% CI 178-277). Compared to other seafarers, the engine room personnel had a relative risk ratio of 2.39 (95% CI: 1.74-3.26). Short-term employment is common in many trades. No duration response pattern was observed which may suggest a secondary healthy worker effect. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that hearing problems are frequent among men who work in the engine rooms on ships. Long-term cumulative effects of employment were not shown.
Search and rescue helicopters from the Royal Norwegian Air Force conduct ambulance and search and rescue missions in the Barents Sea. The team on-board includes an anesthesiologist and a paramedic. Operations in this area are challenging due to long distances, severe weather conditions, and arctic winter darkness.
One-hundred, forty-seven ambulance and 29 search and rescue missions in the Barents Sea during 1994-1999 were studied retrospectively with special emphasis on operative conditions and medical results.
Thirty-five percent of the missions were carried out in darkness. The median time from the alarm to first patient contact was 3.3 hours and the median duration of the missions was 7.3 hours. Forty-eight percent of the missions involved ships of foreign origin. Half the patients had acute illnesses, dominated by gastrointestinal and heart diseases. Most of the injuries resulted from industrial accidents with open and closed fractures, amputations, and soft tissue damage. Ninety percent of the patients were hospitalized; 7.5% probably would not have survived without early medical treatment and rapid transportation to a hospital.
Using a heavy search and rescue helicopter in the Barents Sea was the right decision in terms of medical gain and operative risk.
OBJECTIVES: Earlier studies and statistics have shown that merchant seafarers from the South East Asia had considerable lower accident rates when compared with seafarers from Western Europe. The purposes of the study were to investigate whether the earlier observations were sustained if further sources on occurrence of accidents were used and to identify specific causes of excess accident rates among certain nationalities. METHODS: Occupational accidents aboard Danish merchant ships during one year were identified from four different sources. These included accidents reported to the maritime authorities, accidents reported to a mutual insurance company, files on medical costs reimbursed by the government and finally, accidents in which there has been contact to the radio medical service. Time at risk aboard was obtained from a register on all employment periods aboard merchant ships. RESULTS: A total of 943 accidents causing personal injury to a seafarer directly caused by work aboard were identified. Among these accidents, 499 had taken place aboard cargo ships in international trade. Only these were used in the detailed analysis. The accident rate for all identified accidents aboard cargo ships were 84 accidents per 1,000 years aboard. The crude incidence rate ratio (IRR) for East European seafarers was 0.88 and for South East Asians 0.38 using West European seafarers as reference. In a Poisson regression analysis, the IRR for South East Asians was 0.29 (0.22-0.38). In an analysis including only more serious accidents, IRR for South East Asians rose to 0.36 (0.26-0.48). DISCUSSION: This study indicates that seafarers from South East Asia, mainly the Philippines, may have a genuine lower risk of occupational accidents in comparison with seafarers from Western and Eastern Europe. Differences in approach to safety and risk taking between South East Asian and European seafarers should be identified and positives attitudes included in accident preventing programmes. Main messages Seafarers from South East Asia, mainly the Philippines, seem to have a genuine lower risk of occupational accidents in comparison with seafarers from Western and Eastern Europe. POLICY IMPLICATIONS: Differences in approach to safety and risk taking between South East Asian and European seafarers should be identified and positives attitudes included in accident preventing programmes.
BACKGROUND: Although commercial fishing has become established as the most hazardous occupation in Western countries, relatively little has been reported on mortality from disease among fishermen. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the causes of work-related mortality from disease in the UK fishing industry from 1948 to 2005, trends in mortality over time and how it varies according to the sector of the fishing industry, to investigate non-work related mortality among fishermen ashore, and to compare it with that in other populations. METHODS: Examination of paper death inquiry files, death registers and death returns, as well as GIS mapping for a defined population of 1.45 million fishermen-years at risk. RESULTS: From 1948 to 2005, there were a total of 449 work-related deaths from disease identified in the UK fishing industry, with a corresponding mortality rate of 30.9 per 100,000. The mortality rate increased from about 35 per 100,000 in the late 1940s to 60 in the early/mid 1970s but fell sharply to about 10 by the late 1970s. Most of the deaths were caused by ischaemic heart disease followed by other circulatory diseases, respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases. The highest mortality rates were identified for fishermen employed on board distant water trawlers, particularly those operating in Arctic waters. CONCLUSIONS: The study shows that fishermen in distant water trawlers, particularly in Arctic conditions, have the highest risks of mortality from disease. The high risks presumably reflect lifestyle risk factors as well as extremely hazardous and stressful working and sleeping conditions.
Human behavior impacts the environment we live in. In order to better understand how one group, boat owners, in three Nordic countries adjacent to the Baltic Sea; Sweden, Finland and Denmark, viewed the relationship between the marine environment, leisure boats and issues of responsibility, a survey study was conducted (n = 1701). The results show that there are differences between gender in many areas and those women in general are more environmentally friendly than men in their views and behavior. Men and women seek information about boating by different channels and this knowledge may be used in future information campaigns. Both men and women ranked boat owners as having the lowest impact on the marine environment and perceived these to be responsible for addressing environmental issues caused by leisure boat activities. The results also show that it is important to prove the effectiveness of an environmentally safe product since this factor is ranked higher than price when considering buying a product. The results suggest that once environmentally friendly behavior is established, such as recycling, this behavior continues. One implication of this study is that small changes in human behavior are seen as acceptable but larger commitments are more difficult to achieve. If individuals do not feel responsible for causing environmental damage, this aspect needs to be addressed in information aimed at this group. Novel approaches on framing the information and new ways of disseminating information are needed.
Fall injuries constitute a significant problem in commercial fishing and such injuries have hitherto not been the subject of closer analysis.
The distribution and the characteristics of 582 occupational injuries among commercial fishermen are described by using data from an emergency department for the period 1990-1997, recorded in a special registration system.
Consistent with other investigations, injuries from falls made up 25% of all injuries; they were the cause of 28% of all contusions, 32% of all fractures, 61% of all sprains and strains, 40% of all injuries to lower extremities, and 62% of all injuries to the chest. The proportion of fall injuries in different age groups was U-shaped and constitutes around 40% for men both under 20 years and over 50 years of age, and around 20% for those between these ages. Frequent types of injury mechanisms other than falls and slips were: getting caught (22%), contact with objects or persons (28%), foreign body (9%), and cuts (9%).
Use of proportionate data gave a detailed description of injuries from falls and slips, showing important areas for prevention. To avoid a possible misclassification of fall injuries in future studies, it is recommended to include an extra specific variable: whether falling or slipping preceded the crash phase of the injury or not.
To investigate the frequency, circumstances, and causes of occupational accidents aboard merchant ships in international trade, and to identify risk factors for the occurrence of occupational accidents as well as dangerous working situations where possible preventive measures may be initiated.
The study is a historical follow up on occupational accidents among crew aboard Danish merchant ships in the period 1993-7. Data were extracted from the Danish Maritime Authority and insurance data. Exact data on time at risk were available.
A total of 1993 accidents were identified during a total of 31 140 years at sea. Among these, 209 accidents resulted in permanent disability of 5% or more, and 27 were fatal. The mean risk of having an occupational accident was 6.4/100 years at sea and the risk of an accident causing a permanent disability of 5% or more was 0.67/100 years aboard. Relative risks for notified accidents and accidents causing permanent disability of 5% or more were calculated in a multivariate analysis including ship type, occupation, age, time on board, change of ship since last employment period, and nationality. Foreigners had a considerably lower recorded rate of accidents than Danish citizens. Age was a major risk factor for accidents causing permanent disability. Change of ship and the first period aboard a particular ship were identified as risk factors. Walking from one place to another aboard the ship caused serious accidents. The most serious accidents happened on deck.
It was possible to clearly identify work situations and specific risk factors for accidents aboard merchant ships. Most accidents happened while performing daily routine duties. Preventive measures should focus on workplace instructions for all important functions aboard and also on the prevention of accidents caused by walking around aboard the ship.
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