+44(0)1709 599 222

Published on 23/09/2016

Why Health and Safety Should Never be Ignored on a Ship

Did you know that 3,025 marine incidents were reported to the European Maritime Safety Agency in 2014?

These incidents caused injuries to 1,075 persons and 136 fatalities. Marine casualties cover a wide scope, but they encompass the death, loss or serious injury to a crew member, loss or abandonment of a ship, serious damage caused to the environment as a result of the incident, and material damage to marine infrastructure.

These figures are still alarmingly high, with the issue of ensuring that many more such dangerous incidents are avoided through compliance with the relevant health and safety regulations as pressing a one as ever. Here are just some of the reasons why you should never ignore health and safety on a ship.

You could be fined

There is a range of regulations that you must meet before you set off on your voyage to ensure that your crew and cargo are protected. You can find detailed advice on health and safety on ships on the gov.uk website, including guidance on what should be included in each type of vessel.

One of the biggest reasons why health and safety on ships should be taken very seriously is that you could be liable for prosecution or face a substantial penalty if you are found to be in breach of The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels Regulations (1987). Each regulation comes with its own penalties, so it’s important to read up on these before you venture out to sea.

For example, if you are found to be in breach of regulation 14, which covers the requirement to employ competent workers to carry out protective and preventative services, then you could be liable for a fine of up to £5,000 upon summary conviction.

In fact, earlier this month, a shipping company based in Lisahally Docks was fined £15,000, as reported by the Derry Journal, after three employees suffered significant injuries due to falling from a height of 12 feet. This story is one of many demonstrating that UK courts are not afraid to take action when health and safety regulations have been breached.

You could be prosecuted for breaching certain regulations

The regulations that cover the maritime industry are there to protect crews, cargo and the environment alike. For some breaches, you could even be prosecuted, so it’s vital for you to be thorough in your preparations.

Regulation 5 works to ensure that crew members are well-briefed on their jobs and the risks involved. It also ensures that they have reasonable working patterns and all unavoidable risks have been identified before they start.

If faced with a summary conviction, you could be punished with a fine up to the statutory maximum or upon conviction on indictment, you could be faced with a prison sentence of up to two years, a fine or both.

With the number of reported maritime incidents still persistently high, it’s unsurprising that the authorities continue to take a dim view of ships in breach of health and safety laws.

Should you have any questions regarding our safeguarding products, such as our marine gas detection, please contact one of our team today.