Maritime Occupational Health practitioners: 8. 6 Competencies of professional staff

Olaf Chresten Jensen*

*Kontaktforfatter for dette arbejde

Publikation: Kapitel i bog/rapport/konference-proceedingKapitel i bogFormidling


Maritime Occupational Health practitioners
8. 6 Competencies of professional staff

As maritime doctors perform the mandatory periodical examinations in addition to the pre- engagement for the seafarers, their performance is of crucial importance for the shipping industry. There is research evidence that the seafarers often operate under stressful working conditions, long-work hours, lack of good sleep, healthy diet and physical exercises, that contribute to fatigue, impaired well-being, mental ill-health, stress and chronic diseases (1),(2),(3)(4).
According to the WHO/ILO guidelines the medical practitioner should be experienced in general and occupational medicine or maritime occupational medicine. They should have knowledge of the living and hazardous working conditions on board ships, job demands and the hazardous exposures that are related to the health (5). In contrast to this, occupational health is absent in the handbook of Guidelines on the medical examinations of seafarers: “that will enable seafarers´ doctors to perform the health examinations in a more valid and consistent way” (6).
This handbook is neglegting the fact that recent surveys among the maritime doctors highlight their interest for knowledge and prevention on working conditions on board, training in health and safety at work, rules and regulations and reporting of occupational diseases (7). This is supported by another study where the ranking of perceived training needs by the maritime doctors was highest for fitness evaluation, examination guidelines, working conditions, rules and regulations and health and safety at work (8). In conclusion there is evidence that maritime doctors are interested and need training in maritime occupational health prevention. There is a need to train the seafarers´ doctors to notify occupational diseases and to teach them how to give attention and support to the seafarers for prevention of their hazardous working and living conditions. In the new agenda the seafarers´ doctors should stand up and act in the prevention of diseases related to the work environment.
1. Oldenburg M, Baur X, Schlaich C. Occupational risks and challenges of seafaring. J Occup Health. 2010;52(5):249–56.
2. Forsell K, Eriksson H, Järvholm B, Lundh M, Andersson E, Nilsson R. Work environment and safety climate in the Swedish merchant fleet. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2017 Feb;90(2):161–8.
3. Jensen OC, Sørensen JFL, Canals ML, Hu YP, Nikolic N, Bloor M. Subjective assessments of safety, exposure to chemicals and use of personal protection equipment in seafaring. Occup Med Oxf Engl. 2005 Sep;55(6):454–8.
4. Sampson H, Ellis N, Acejo I, Turgo N, Tang L. The working and living conditions of seafarers on cargo ships in the period 2011-2016. :57.
5. Guidelines on the medical examinations of seafarers [Internet]. [cited 2018 Nov 24]. Available from:
6. Handbook for seafarer medical examiners - Google-søgning [Internet]. [cited 2018 Nov 24]. Available from:
7. Andrioti D, Faurby MD, Videbaek Le J, Jensen OC. Do Danish Maritime Doctors Value Continuous Education Initiatives? Health Econ Outcome Res Open Access [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2018 Jun 28];03(03). Available from:
8. Shah B, Andrioti D, Jensen OC. Training needs among maritime professionals: a cross sectional study. Int Marit Health. 2018;69(2):129–36.
TitelTextbook of Maritime Medicine
Antal sider1
UdgivelsesstedBergen online
StatusUnder udarbejdelse - 3. jan. 2019


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