The issue of chemical work environment risks interested many

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This year’s SAN Conference focused on chemical work environment risks, and attracted a large number of visitors from the industry.
The day began with the awarding of the SAN prize, which this year went to the officers on M/S Eckerö for their tireless and successful efforts to improve the work environment onboard. Then Maria Dalin from the Swedish Work Environment Authority and Christina Östberg and Caroline Petrini from the Swedish Transport Agency talked about chemicals management and the new AFSAR which has entered into force in this area. Urban Svedberg, researcher and chemist, and Donald Werner from the classification society Bureau Veritas, talked about the risks associated with working in enclosed spaces onboard.
The medical research team Ralph Nilsson and Karl Forsell came from Sahlgrenska to describe the serious injuries that exposure to diesel and benzene can cause. The chemist Sarka Langer, from the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, IVL, presented a newly started research project in which she is studying the indoor environment on ships.
The CEO of the Seaman’s House Foundation, Christer Nordling, was invited to talk about their awards scheme and with him was Karl Karell, master at Finnlines, who described one of this year’s winning inventions: cleaning sewage pipes with ordinary ice instead of chemicals.
Anneli Rusth Jensen, from Viking Supply Ships, showed how it is to possible to reduce the amount of chemicals used onboard with quite simple means, and Annica Fredholm, from Feelgood Occupational Health, told us about the company’s cooperation with the business community.
The Navy had several people in the audience as well as a speaker. It was Erik Casselbrant, from the Defence Medicine Centre, who described the environment onboard submarines and their specific chemical risks.
It is now 100 years since the first safety officer was appointed in Sweden, and on this anniversary Karl-Arne Johansson, SEKO seafarer and member of the SAN board, spoke about the long history of safety officers. He explained that their unremitting efforts to achieve a healthier work environment have contributed to many improvements for seafarers over the years, but the need for safety officers is just as great as it was then.
This year’s SAN prize went to the officers of M/S Eckerö: Johan Bertell, Lars Nordström and Christer Edström.
At the time of writing, they have not yet decided what to do with the SEK 10,000 they were given as prize money, but they will probably either buy new equipment for the ship’s gym or donate the money to charity, they say.
The motivation for their prize was: They are awarded the prize for the inspiring way that they have created a safe and pleasant environment onboard the ship. Regular work environment courses are given to the entire crew, there is an open atmosphere for discussing problems and they have the courage to take decisions that reduce health risks. They also make an effort to ensure that those people working on M/S Eckerö will enjoy their stations and feel welcome at their place of work. An industry representative who occasionally visits the ship says, ”The atmosphere onboard is so relaxed that it feels like coming home.”
To get such a good atmosphere you need a master who takes care of his crew and who has the will and the ability to create good conditions for training and social activities. This year’s prizewinners have demonstrated these abilities in many ways.
French fries in the breaks
During the breaks, representatives from the company Eatgood offered low-fat French fries. Instead of being fried in oil the potato chips were cooked with steam and hot air, which according to the company means up to 60 per cent less fat compared with normal chips. Cooking takes place in a so-called Lightfry, a specially designed oven with a rotating drum, and gives the same golden-brown colour and crispy surface as deep-frying. It also eliminates oil mist, reduces the risk of fire and the ventilation system does not need to be cleaned as often as with deep-frying. More information about the product is available at

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