Occupational Health and Safety of the Seafarers of Odfjell Philippines Inc.

Topics: Occupational safety and health, Safety, International Maritime Organization Pages: 30 (8438 words) Published: January 5, 2012


The shipping industry in the Philippines plays an important role for the development of the country as well as the contribution to the international trade of transport of different products. Philippines provide more than one quarter of the world’s seafarers employed abroad internationally trading ships and its position as the world’s leading suppliers of seafarers .Filipino seafarers have also become a vital component of the country’s Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) economy (Amante, 2005). Different foreign and local shipping companies provide one of the largest job opportunities for the Filipino seafarers. Philippines is the leading maritime manpower in its industry, contributing about 30 percent of the whole number of the seafarers globally (Samante, 2007). On the other hand, this increasing interest of individuals to engage themselves in the occupation at sea provides higher chances of risk and danger. Occupational health and safety of seafarers is a basic human necessity with their work environment not only for the seafarers but as well as other workers. Most of the seafarers are engaged in carrying hazardous products on board resulting in higher risks and accidents if not managed properly. Most of the seafarers refer their nature of work as dirty, dangerous, and demeaning a (3D) job (Binghay, 2005) that is why seafarers have high possibility of risk and accident with their jobs. In spite of wider range of education, trainings and other procedures, which requires seafarers to upgrade their knowledge and skills throughout their nature of work, there are still large numbers of accidents which occur onboard as well as ailments and sicknesses which seafarers commonly experience and which they have to complain after disembarkation. As stressed by Li & Shiping (2002), to the worldwide seafarers, 6,471 died annually giving an annual mortality rate of 7.6 percent, among which 2,816 cases are due to accidents, giving an accidental rate of 3.30 percent per annum. These conflicts and dilemmas which the seafarers are experiencing point to different factors such as mechanical and human failure and errors. It is very necessary to take appropriate measures in order to avoid accidents and fatalities on board. Throughout the international consultation for new maritime security regime, seafarers’ organizations have supported and positively contributed to the elaboration of many of the measures which have been introduced and which aim to improve maritime security (Goulielmos & Anastasakos, 2005). According to Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and Marine Pollution (MARPOL) conventions, in order to reduce the accident risks, it is appropriate to follow certain navigational regulation and information must be provided to competent authorities about the nature of the dangerous goods being transported on board vessels. It is considered that the shipping is perhaps the most internationally recognized of all the world’s great industries as well as being one of the most dangerous. It has been accepted that the best way of providing safe working condition at sea is by developing international regulations and standards that should be followed by most shipping nation (Pum, Yan, & Lewis, 2003) as well as to require every seafarer to have standard certifications of maritime education and trainings to ensure their competency and safety and to reduce accidents and fatalities on board (Emad & Roth, 2003). Occupational health and safety measures in the field of seafaring play an essential role as basic component at any policy aimed at addressing the plight of Filipino seafarers around the world (Binghay 2005), giving protection and security to the type of work as well as providing the contractual obligations of the ship-owners to seafarers.

Background of the study
Odjfell is one of the leading companies in the global market for transportation and storage of bulk liquid chemicals, acids, edible oils, and other...
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