Maritime workers are essential workers who the whole world needs, and thus, they should be handled with the utmost care. And with them having difficult jobs to travel worldwide to ship a broad range of essentials, they go through a lot of issues that can negatively affect their and their loved ones’ well-being. Having said that, it is imperative that they are highly trained in knowing common issues to watch out for and how to handle those issues. Constant training, ranging from safety issues to maritime workers comp, should be implemented as well as posted on docks and various areas to ensure they are well-versed and reminded on how to handle situations. And having said that, the following includes common issues of maritime workers:

·         Slips and Falls

Tripping, slips, and falls rank third place in injuries in all industries in the US. Approximately 26% of injuries come from this in the workplace. Many of these incidents occur when there are greasy or wet ladders, greasy or wet decks, and loose equipment, such as hoses, tools, and vessel structures. So, it is imperative to maintain clean work areas and secured equipment. Equipment should be securely tucked away and pressuring workers not to leave equipment down anywhere or else should be mandated. Also, constant supervision is required.

·         Fire and Explosions

On shipyards, explosions and fires can be caused by various situations, including:

  • Cleaning solvents that are combustible or flammable
  • High flash points of liquids that are applied as a fine mist
  • Low flashpoints, i.e. lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, of liquids
  • Airborne dust or particles that are combustible or flammable
  • The generating of hydrogen gas while cleaning
  • Reactive cargoes
  • Working close to heat and live electrical wires without being aware of it or without having the knowledge on how to handle these situations

Due to these extreme situations, supervisors and coworkers must always hold each other accountable to ensure safety for the whole crew. Safety awareness and knowledge must always be first over everything else, no matter how tight deadlines may be.

·         Environmental Conditions

There is, unfortunately, not much you can do about the constantly changing environment and various climates as workers travel from one end of the globe to another. And furthermore, pandemics, like Covid-19 and other situations, depending on what is going on in a particular location, pose even more threats. So, the only thing workers can do is to ensure they are dressed in layers to ensure they don’t overheat or freeze, stay hydrated, use their PPE appropriately, eat right, get enough rest, wash and sanitize their hands, equipment, and surfaces, etc.

How to Handle These Issues

There are always challenges and issues regarding maritime safety. That is why the Maritime Administration (MARAD) partners with other agencies to assist with safety software tools, other equipment, and training guides to assist the needs of shipyards, ships, and workers to handle just about any situation. And as a result, maritime workers can be as proficient as possible in their jobs while simultaneously staying as healthy and safe as possible.