Vol 56, No 1-4 (2005)
Published online: 2010-03-26

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Work-site casualties and environmental risk assessment on board Polish vessels

Bogdan Jaremin
IMH 2005;56(1-4):17-27.


Objectives: To assess environmental risks of fatal incidents in the maritime work-site and guides for possible prevention.
Methods: All casualties at the work-site in the years 1960-1999 among 25 525 seafarers employed on board Polish vessels were identified according to the ICD-10 classification. The main measure of risk: mean fatality rate per 1000 employees/year was calculated for external and internal causes of death. The impact of the maritime work environment was analysed.
Results: 668 seafarers died on board 405 Polish vessels, and 66 percent of deaths were from external causes. The mean fatality rate 1.17 per 1 000, was five times higher for external (drowning, missing, other accidents ) than for internal causes ( circulatory system diseases): 412 deaths from accidents and 29 from disease. Despite modernization of the fleet, the environmental risk factors have strong impact on the mortality. The highest-risk groups were Baltic fishermen, seamen, deck crew, under 40 years of age.
Conclusions: The risk of casualties in maritime industry exceeds the acceptable level of 1 death per 1000 employees per year. Prevention should concentrate on maritime catastrophes and work-related accidents.

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