Most jobs involve some risks, and working at sea is no exception. However, seafaring jobs involve unique hazards that can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities.
Slips, trips and falls
Due to the unpredictable nature of a ship’s deck, it can be easy for workers to slip, trip or fall. One of the leading causes of this is wet decks, which can quickly become slippery. Other causes include overcrowding in tight spaces, inadequate lighting and uneven deck surfaces.
Many maritime jobs require workers to operate or be around moving machinery, such as winches and cranes. Injuries caused by malfunctions, improper use or lack of safety training can range from minor cuts to more serious crush injuries.
Open flames, hot surfaces and electrical hazards are all found aboard ships. Maritime injuries caused by burns can be severe, with some workers suffering long-term disfigurement or even death as a result.
Working on the deck of a moving ship can be dangerous. Workers are often required to work close to objects that may suddenly become dislodged, such as crates and tools, which can cause serious head injuries if they fall on someone.
The extreme temperatures of the sea, combined with long hours of hard labor on deck, can easily lead to exhaustion. Heatstroke is possible if workers do not take proper precautions to stay hydrated and cool down during hot weather.
Exposure to hazardous substances
Working with and around hazardous chemicals can put workers at risk of serious illnesses and even death. Other potential dangers include asbestos, lead paint and diesel fumes.
Repetitive strain injuries
The same motions necessary for some seafaring jobs can cause joint pain and other chronic issues if done over long periods. Workers can develop injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and lower back pain.
Safety should always be of utmost importance when working at sea, and it’s important for employers to ensure that they provide adequate training and supplies so that their employees can work in the safest conditions possible.