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

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The Hamburg Port Health Center: history, organisation, activities

Xaver Baur, Marcus Oldenburg, Ulf-Peter Huesing
IMH 2005;56(1-4):165-176.


Controlling hygiene conditions and the state of health on incoming vessels and in ports are the tasks of port health authorities. In Hamburg, the respective department (also responsible for the local airport) is combined with the research department Maritime Medicine. Both departments represent the Hamburg Port Health Center and are part of the Central Institute and Professorship of Occupational Medicine (“ZfA”). This arrangement has proven to be very effective since it connects routine control activities with research on the work related health risks of seafarers and dockers, and their minimalization. Examples are the improvement of various work conditions on board and of life saving equipment including telemedicine devices, investigations of action of toxic substances and allergic disorders caused by the transport of hazardous cargo. The recent activities of the Center are presented in detail in this paper. The Central Institute of Occupational Medicine (“ZfA”), Department Science and Health of the Free and Hanseatic Town of Hamburg, is affiliated with the Medical Faculty of Hamburg University and is a WHO Collaborating Centre on Occupational Health. An essential task of the institute is conducting of scientific and practice-oriented investigations on the relations between the health of seafarers and dockers and their work and on prevention of accidents and diseases among them. The Institute pursues its tasks in the field of research, education, consultation and care of patients as well as in training of students, physicians and scientists in the departments Clinical Occupational Medicine, Occupational Toxicology and Molecular Biology, Allergology, and Mental Stress and Strain. The Hamburg Port Health Center with its Port and Airport Health Authority and Maritime Medicine department is also part of the Institute (ZfA). The activities are presented.

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