Kamil Lagiewka, 2nd Officer on LNG vessels and CEO of a company called ‘SEAWARENESS’ is an active seafarer who is passionate about safety improvements and the protection of the environment. In fact, his interest in safety led him to create inventions which are meant to increase safety on board and help seafarers in their duties. He shares his insights with us.
Life on board can be hard. Rough weather, inspections, operations, lack of sleep, being far from family for months can really upset everyone. When you are tired, you cannot just take a day off. We face many challenges, and this job is not meant to be for everyone. We have tons of papers to fill out, and this is a real pain for me, as I hate to see waste of paper, while it seems like all these reports and documents must be printed out, as it is very important to inspectors. I wish someday everything will be visible only in the system; it will save not only paper but also our precious time.
While being on board we have many duties. Apart from navigating, we must be ready for every emergency and take part in drills, which can be dangerous. To make sure that we are protected, the seafarer should lift every fire extinguisher, turn it upside down to make sure that the powder inside is not clumped and then put the extinguisher back. It seems easy, if we have 5 fire extinguishers, but what if there are 120 to check?
As per the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Risks in Lodz, the risk of injury to the lower back is reduced from 58% to 3% using the rotary holder. Examination shows that lifting can be harmful and can lead to irreversible consequences. Therefore, I came up with an idea of a hanger for extinguishers, in order to help with the inspections and simple checks. It is easy, lasts for very long time and requires minimum strength and effort to safely proceed with the inspection.
What is more, in case of a drill (or real fire) one member of the fire squad must carry spare breathing apparatus, in case more air would be needed, which can be quite heavy and not so easy to transfer– especially when the vessel is rolling or when you must run down the stairs. Very often the crew leaving the cylinder on deck can cause big damage. For that matter, I invented a special backpack designated for carrying spare breathing apparatus. It allows the person who must carry it to walk safely with bare hands and help others if needed.
Last but not least – this job is difficult enough day to day but during pandemic it became even worst. You can see that many ports did not allow crew changes to happen, the flights were cancelled, and crew members were struggling to go back home. Some countries required 2 weeks of quarantine for crew – can you imagine being locked in one room without even a balcony for 2 weeks? Fortunately, it did not happen to me, but I feel sorry for those who had to go through it. I know that many people had to undergo quarantine while going back to their homes. Bearing in mind that we are on board for half (or more!) of the year, the days of quarantine are stealing our precious time. It seems to be unfair, bearing in mind the meaning of our job – without ships, people would lack many essential products.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
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