Slips, Trips, and Falls Continue to Rise
Slips, trips and falls continue to be a leading cause of occupational injury in the maritime industry.1 The increase could be a result of better reporting; however, slips, trips and falls are still occurring with serious consequence. What are some of the control measures a company can put in place to prevent these incidents from happening? Common solutions have included: anti-slip surfaces, contrasting colors, fall protection, training and constant reminders through safety meetings and signage. Another, perhaps not as well-practiced control measure, is addressing more of the individual factors like crew alertness through diet, exercise and sleep management – in other words, a health and wellness program onboard the vessel.
Incidents usually occur when people are stressed, distracted, not feeling well, tired, and not at their best. A health and wellness program can help mariners be their best, improve alertness and situational awareness, resulting in fewer incidents, specifically slips, trips and falls.
To address the human element of these incidents, re-visit the United States Coast Guard launch of “Crew Endurance Management” or most commonly referred to as “CEM” in the early 2000s. With the roll-out of CEM, the Coast Guard provided good tools and guidance documents for use by the maritime industry, which you can use as a framework to get started with your program or add to what you currently have.
An additional and complimentary maritime tool to develop your health and wellness program is the Crew Endurance Management System (CEMS) Awareness Book. This document was developed for the Pacific Marine Towing Industry Partners and comprehensively addresses diet, exercise, sleep and handling physiological and psychological factors. There is a good resource section in the back of the book for further guidance.
Many companies have stepped-up to implement health and wellness programs, but perhaps have not measured their effectiveness for reducing incidents. Take some time to review CEM and if feasible, integrate an employee health and wellness program as a control measure to reduce slips, trips and falls.
1ANNUAL OVERVIEW OF MARINE CASUALTIES AND INCIDENTS 2014, EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency)
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.