Personal protective equipment Injury prevention Transportation

PPE vital to limiting maritime workers’ injury risk: study

Photo: karakoc/iStockphoto

Herndon, VA — Making personal protective equipment more readily available to maritime workers may reduce their risk of on-the-job injuries, according to a recent study led by researchers in Singapore and Australia.

As part of the study, researchers surveyed 354 maritime workers in Singapore, China, South Korea and Vietnam. Among injury risk factors such as age, risk awareness, experience, PPE availability and others, PPE availability “was shown to have the greatest potential to decrease injury probability,” the researchers said.

Other findings:

  • 14% of the respondents indicated they had suffered at least one injury during their most recent tour of duty.
  • 4% reported they had received inadequate PPE training; the injury rate among this group was as much as 33% higher than that of other respondents.
  • 18% said their employers did not always share incident lessons with crew members.

“Shipping is the lifeblood of world trade and its viability depends on the key workforce – seafarers, who are competent and have their occupational health and safety assured at work,” Vinh Thai, study co-author and associate professor of business at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, said in an Aug. 28 press release. “This research reveals key findings related to factors that have been shown to have the greatest potential to decrease injury probability of seafarers.”


The researchers offer several recommendations to maritime industry employers, including:

  • Focus on enhancing supply and stock of proper, nondefective PPE aboard vessels.
  • Ensure all workers receive training on proper PPE use.
  • Frequently communicate common injuries and risk assessment results.
  • Display warning signs at sites of potential hazards.

The study was published online July 17 in the journal Risk Analysis.

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