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3Three of four shipboard personnel believe that they are in excellent or good health. At the same time, there is much exposure to harmful substances and over 40% of the women were subjected to insults or violations last year. This is shown in a comprehensive study on health among seafarers that was presented at the SAN conference.
In the study Work environment and health on Swedish ships, the health of Swedish seafarers on Swedish ships has been examined. Almost 2,000 shipboard personnel took part in the survey and replied to one hundred questions about contact with hazardous substances, sleep, and discrimination, among other things. Three out of four believe that they are in good health and 85% feel that they have a good capacity for work.
”It is a good thing,” says senior physician Karl Forsell, who led the study. ”Especially given the elevated risk of illness among seafarers and how different the occupation is,” he says.
On the other hand, the survey also shows that there are a number of problems on board. More than 60% of engine room personnel say that they are exposed to oil on the skin daily.
International comparison
”It is a little surprising, considering how much time we have spent explaining the risks of exposure to oil and that there are work gloves which are both heat-resistant and oil proof. But I know that some people think it is easier to work without gloves, which could be an explanation for that high number,” says Karl Forsell.
Another aspect that is surprising among the results is insulting behaviour and harassment. About 20% of all respondents stated that they had been subjected to these things at some point during the past year, and among women the proportion was twice as high.
”We don’t know why this is, but perhaps it is something to do with people on board working and living together for long periods,” says Karl Forsell.
The compilation of the results is still in progress, but in future Karl Forsell hopes to be able to repeat the study on foreign ships.
”We would like to make an international study and compare it with our Swedish results.
Linda Sundgren

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