Engaging in maritime work presents unique challenges and risks. The fatal injury rate among maritime workers also surpasses that of other industries by quite a bit. This heightened risk is often due to the nature of maritime activities, where workers face a variety of dangers. Vessel accidents and exposure to hazardous materials are among them. Exposure to asbestos, a mineral common in maritime settings, which can lead to the development of mesothelioma, is also a concern.
Understanding these risks helps promote safety measures and improve the overall well-being of maritime workers.
High fatality rates
The maritime industry encompasses a range of occupations, from seafaring roles on ships to dock and harbor workers. This sector also consistently reports a higher rate of fatal injuries compared to other industries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there were 87 fatal maritime injuries in America between 2011 and 2017. This means maritime workers are six times more likely to die on the job than employees in other fields.
Vessel accidents, falls and machinery-related incidents contribute to this heightened risk. The unpredictable nature of maritime work demands rigorous safety protocols. It also warrants more training to mitigate these dangers.
Asbestos exposure risks
A silent threat of maritime work is asbestos exposure. Asbestos has heat-resistant properties, making it a once-ideal material for insulating ships. However, over time, the microscopic asbestos fibers released into the air can enter worker bodies through inhalation or ingestion. This can have severe health consequences.
Mesothelioma is a direct consequence of asbestos exposure. Maritime workers face an elevated risk of mesothelioma due to their proximity to asbestos-containing materials. Once inhaled, asbestos fibers can lodge in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. This can trigger the development of mesothelioma. The latency period for this cancer is often decades, making early detection difficult.
The elevated fatal injury rates among maritime workers underscore the importance of prioritizing safety measures in this industry. Increasing awareness of dangers and implementing strict safety protocols creates a safer environment for all maritime workers.