Health and safety and accident prevention

Image of ships paint

The Danish regulations on occupational health apply to all work carried out on board ships and prescribe that the obligations rest with the shipowners, masters, foremen and other persons carrying out work on board.

The regu­lations implement EU directives on the health and safety of employees during work, including pregnant employ­ees, employees who have just given birth or who are breast-feeding. The regulations concern the planning and arrangement of the work, the performance of the work, training and instructions, control of occupational health, general preventive principles as well as occupational health effects (physical, biological and chemical ones). In addition, there are special regulations on young persons' work on board ships, including certain types of work that must not be carried out by young persons below the age of 18.

The planning and arrangement of the work presupposes that a workplace assessment is made which must be available in writing to the extent that it is of special importance to health and safety during work. The workplace assessment must, inter alia, be made in consideration of the best possible prevention of accidents or occupational injuries.

Occupational accidents and injuries

The master of any ship must report occupational accidents and incidents of poisoning that have occurred on board the ship if the accident or the poisoning has lead to incapacity for work for one day or more in addition to the day of the incident or if the injured person has not been able to carry out his or her usual work on board for one day or more in addition to the day of the injury.

The safety organisation on board

In merchant ships with a fixed manning of 5 or more persons, a safety organisation must be established.

The members of a safety group must have completed a course in occupational health approved by the Danish Maritime Authority.

The members of the safety organisation must strive to solve health- and safety-related problems on board.

The safety group must check that the working conditions and the work are arranged and carried out in a manner that is appropriate in terms of health and safety.

The Danish Maritime Occupational Health and Welfare Board (Sea Health & Welfare)

Sea Health & Welfare has been established the task of which is to further both the physical and mental health and safety of the employees, to prevent occupational health injuries, including occupational accidents, occupational diseases and attrition among those employed on Danish merchant ships and to support the safety organisations of the ships. The tasks of Sea Health & Welfare are, inter alia, to identify and assess the occupational health problems of the merchant fleet in cooperation with the shipping company and the safety organisation, to present proposals for improving the conditions of health and safety on board merchant ships and to contribute to the collection and revision of statistical material on the conditions of health and safety on merchant ships. Sea Health & Welfare is headed by a board on which shipowners and seafarers are equally represented.

Read more about Sea Health & Welfare

Investigation of accidents

Pursuant to the act on safety investigations of marine accidents, a Maritime Accident Investigation Board has been established, which investigates very serious accidents at sea. Other occupational accidents are investigated by the Danish Maritime Authority.

Read more about the Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board



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