Editorial - “The health, wellbeing and welfare of the seafarer is crucial to the safety of any ship.”
In a previous Issue of Alert! we have defined Occupational Health and Safety as: 'The effect of work, the working environment and living conditions on the health, safety and wellbeing of the person'.
In a previous Issue of Alert! we have defined Occupational Health and Safety as:
The effect of work, the working environment and living conditions on the health, safety and wellbeing of the person.
The impact of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) - now supported by the ILO Guidelines for implementing the occupational safety and health provisions of MLC 2006 - has brought the subject of seafarer health, safety and wellbeing to the fore; not least because it emphasises the rights of every seafarer to a safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards; to fair terms of employment; to decent working and living conditions on board ship; and to health protection, medical care, welfare measures and other forms of social protection. Much has been written in previous Issues of Alert! on occupational health, safety and wellbeing. The centrespread in Issue No. 18 offers an excellent A to Z guide to the subject, as do the centrespreads in Issue No. 17 on mitigating the risks of slips, trips and falls, and Issue No. 13 on the causes, effects and mitigation of fatigue.
Understandably, the seafarer has to be both physically and mentally fit to cope with the demands of working and living at sea. He/she has to be able to cope with the loneliness and isolation of being at sea, often for lengthy contracts, with irregular contact with family at home; long hours can lead to fatigue and stress; language barriers amongst multi-national crews can lead to breakdowns in communication; and home-sickness, bullying and gender or racial discrimination can seriously affect self-confidence. These are all stressors, any combination of which can lead to lapses in safety; our cover story is but one example of what can go wrong if a seafarer is stressed.
The health, wellbeing and welfare of the seafarer is crucial to the safety of any ship.