Industrial accidents among operating personnel surveyed

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The risk of having an industrial injury is three times as high for deck and engine room staff compared with employees ashore. This is shown by a survey of injuries carried out on behalf of SAN, the Maritime Joint Work Environment Council.

Between 2011 – 2013 there were 192 serious industrial accidents (at least one day’s sick leave) among operating personnel on board Swedish-run ships.

Falling injuries common

That is three times as many compared to industrial accidents among employees ashore during the same period. Master Andreas Andersson described the situation together with his Master colleague Karin Lindquist, who has studied work-related injuries in detail in her thesis at the Kalmar Maritime Academy. The survey shows that the most common cause of injury among deck and engine room personnel was falling, tripping or taking a wrong step.

”That may sound rather undramatic, but the fact is that over half the cases led to personnel being off sick for 14 days or more,” said Andreas Andersson.

The second most common cause of injury was losing control of a machine or other equipment. In these cases, too, long sick leave was commonplace.

Preventive measures

Part of the task of mapping accidents was to come up with proposals for preventive measures. Andreas Andersson, who now works as a second chief mate with the cruise company Royal Caribbean, believes that relatively simple actions could reduce the number of accidents.

”To start with, I believe we need to give better information about existing risks, so that people think more before they start work. From my own experience, I know that people get careless on ships and they don’t always realise just how serious the consequences of a mistake can be,” he says.

Linda Sundgren

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