Subjective assessments of safety, exposure to chemicals and use of personal protection equipment in seafaring.Occup Med (Lond). 2005 Sep; 55(6):454-8.OM
Most of the scientific publications from the maritime area are studies about the mortality and morbidity, while studies about the present hazards of potentially dangerous exposures are relatively rare.
To describe the seafarers' assessments of the occupational safety on board, their exposure to chemicals and the use of personal protection equipment and to identify the areas for further risk assessment and preventive measures.
A questionnaire study was carried out in 11 countries among seafarers who attended a regular health examination.
The total number of seafarers who participated in the study was 6461 (response rate 93.7%). The occupational safety on board was assessed to be very good or good in 82%. Multivariate analyses showed that the safety was assessed as lowest among ratings, seafarers<30 years of age, work in the engine rooms and on dry cargo ships. It was highest on crude oil tankers and supply ships. Fifty-five per cent of seafarers were exposed to chemicals. Personal protection equipment to chemicals was used 'always/almost always' in 93% of the exposed. Multivariate analysis showed that the use of personal protection was highest on deck, on the largest ships, on roll-on roll-off ships and on crude oil tankers.
The occupational safety and the use of personal protective equipment was assessed to be significantly different in some strata of the population and in specific working areas and types and sizes of ships.