Being a seafarer is considered a challenging occupation especially when it comes to crew health and safety. Certainly, verifying seafarers’ health status prior embarkation is compelled. However, even if medical examinations are being conducted before seafarers join a ship, diseases owning to the nature of working onboard such as the cargo carried or the materials handled and even a few epidemic diseases are very common.
Real Life Injury
It was morning and the Bosun and three other AB’s had planned to remove some rust and paint from one of the cargo holds. The Bosun started to scrape the parts he could reach from the tank top and when this was done a ladder was rigged to reach areas higher up. The Bosun and the AB’s were working at different areas in the cargo hold. The Bosun climbed up the ladder he had rigged. Suddenly a thud was heard, and the AB’s saw the Bosun lying on the tank-top on his back, the Bosun’s chair and safety harness was lying by his legs. One of the AB’s raised the alarm and the Master sounded the emergency alarm and mustered the emergency team by the hold. The crew managed to secure the Bosun on a stretcher and take him to the vessel’s hospital bay. He was bleeding from his head, ears and nose and had fractured his legs and right wrist. He was conscious and in great pain. The vessel made contact with Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and a helicopter was dispatched to the vessel.
Actions to be taken in case of personnel injuries or illness
In order to avoid injuries and serious illness of seafarers, the following procedures should be followed:
- Call the members of the first aid squad with relevant equipment and the designated on board Medical Officer
- Formulate a method for transporting casualty to ship’s hospital
- Call additional equipment and personnel if a vertical or near vertical lift will be required
- Consult company communication and relevant international radio station manuals to plan for a possible Medivac with notification to relevant external parties
- In case that an accident report form is required to be completed, crew members should keep records
- Extended and detailed pre-employment medical examination should be conducted for all seafarers
- Perform the examination in reliable, official and certified medical centers
- Keep a detailed medical record on board to address the injuries and illness incidents
SQE Marine has prepared a detailed checklist aiming to inform about the necessary actions to be followed, in case of illness or injury.