Vol 70, No 2 (2019)
Original article
Published online: 2019-06-25

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Fatal and serious injuries on board merchant cargo ships

Erkan Çakır1
Pubmed: 31237671
IMH 2019;70(2):113-118.


Background: Merchant seafaring is one the most dangerous occupation over the world which hosts the physical, ergonomic, chemical, biological, psychological and social elements, which could lead to occupa- tional accidents, injuries and diseases. Therefore, it is a field that should be studied on meticulously and frequently. The aim of this study is to investigate the frequency, circumstances, and causes of occupational accidents on board merchant cargo ships and to identify the risks factors during the daily routine works and dangerous works to be fulfilled. 

Materials and methods: Data used in this study obtained various occupational accident reports issued by countries’ accident investigation units or maritime authorities such as Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), Marine Safety Investigation Unit (MSIU) and Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). A total of 331 reports met the inclusion criteria for the 11-year period from 2006 to 2016. Descriptive statistics were given related to data and chi-square analysis was used to test for significant association between categorical variables (seafarer’s age, accident type and etc.) and injury severity. 

Results: Several findings were notable in this study. Ratings (63.5%) were the most affected group suffe- red from occupational injuries among the crew and the most critical cause of occupational accidents was found the dangerous work practices and ignorance of rules and instructions.

Conclusions: Occupational accidents are still crucial concern in maritime industry which imposes a major burden on both seafarers and shipping companies. Reduction in occupational injuries could be achieved by improving the working environment and the quality of life on board, mitigating the mental and physical burden of work and developing policies to encourage the seafarers to obey safety rules and instructions. 

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