Every person on board has a responsibility for safety

  • The Company is responsible for ensuring the overall safety of the ship and that safety on board is properly organised and coordinated.

  • The Master has the day-to-day responsibility for the safe operation of the ship and the safety of those on board.

  • Each employer is responsible for the health and safety of their workers.

  • Heads of department are responsible for health and safety in their own department.

  • Each officer/manager is responsible for health and safety for those they supervise and others affected.

  • Each individual seafarer or worker is responsible for their own health and safety and that of anyone affected by their acts and omissions.

Managing occupational health and safety, the development of a positive ‘safety culture’ and the achievement of high standards of safety depend on good organisation and the whole-hearted support of management and all seafarers. Those with specific safety responsibilities are more likely to perform well when management is clearly committed to health and safety. It is also important that procedures are in place so that all seafarers can cooperate and participate in establishing and maintaining safe working conditions and practices.

Appointment of safety officers

On every seagoing ship on which five or more seafarers are employed, the Company is required to appoint a safety officer. The Master must record the appointment of a safety officer – this should be in the official logbook. The safety officer is the safety adviser aboard the ship and can provide valuable assistance to the Company and to individual employers in meeting the statutory responsibilities for health and safety. Some training may be provided on board, but the safety officer should have attended a suitable safety officer’s training course.

Suitable safety officer training should cover the following topics:

1. The tasks of the safety committee; 2. The rights and roles of members of the safety committee; 3. How to carry out risk assessment and management; 4. How to provide the necessary advice to resolve safety concerns or problems and to encourage adherence to prevention principles; 5. Supervision of safety tasks assigned to crew and other seafarers on board, and passengers where applicable; 6. Accident and incident investigation, analysis and making appropriate corrective and preventative recommendations to prevent their recurrence; 7. How to obtain relevant information on a safe and healthy working environment from the competent authority and the Company; 8. Effective means of communication with a multinational crew; and 9. The commitment required to promote a safe working environment on board.