International surveillance of seafarers' health and working environment. A pilot study of the method. Preliminary report.Int Marit Health. 2001; 52(1-4):59-67.IM
The purpose of this pilot study was to develop and assess a method for a long-sighted, international comparative survey of seafarers' working, living and health conditions.
The seafarers completed a short questionnaire in medical clinics in connection with their mandatory health examinations. The pilot study included basic data on the person and the ship, the length of the latest tour of duty, injuries if any and injury characteristics.
1068 questionnaires were collected in 5 countries. The participation rate was assessed in two countries: 98.4% and 61.0%. The completion rate for the individual questions varied from 92% to 100%, except for a few questions. The congruence between the answers in the test and the re-test was 94%-100%, apart from the question on the ship's tonnage. The workload in connection with the collection of data in the clinics was considered reasonably low. 8.7% of the seafarers reported that they had been injured during their latest tour of duty. Violence related to 5% of the injuries, falls and slips to 44%. 79% were treated either on board or on shore. 58% were unfit for duty for at least one day or more.
The method seems to be applicable as a tool for describing seafarers' working and living conditions in an international perspective.