Working at sea comes with a unique set of challenges and risks, making it one of the most demanding occupational circumstances in the world. For example, deckhands are consistently exposed to unpredictable weather, rough seas and a range of potentially dangerous equipment, so they must always be adequately equipped with the proper safety gear to better ensure their safety and well-being.
Each piece of safety equipment plays a crucial role and is designed to protect them from specific hazards they may encounter during their duties.
Personal flotation devices are a must
One of the most critical safety equipment for a deckhand is a personal flotation device, or PFD, which is often called a life jacket. A PFD is designed to keep a person afloat in the water and should be always worn when working on deck, especially during rough seas or when there is a risk of falling overboard. Many modern PFDs also have added features such as lights, whistles and reflective strips to increase visibility in the water.
Protective clothing is vital
Given the harsh and often unpredictable weather conditions at sea, protective clothing is another critical aspect of a deckhand’s safety gear. This includes waterproof clothing, thermal layers for cold conditions, sun-protective clothing for hot climates and sturdy, slip-resistant footwear to ensure stability on wet and slippery surfaces. Gloves can be worn to protect hands from cuts, burns and other injuries when handling equipment.
Safety helmets protect from falling objects
Deckhands are often at risk from falling objects, especially when loading and unloading cargo or during rough seas. A safety helmet is a fundamental piece of equipment. It can protect the wearer from severe head injuries that could result from impact from falling or flying objects.
Harnesses prevent falls
Harnesses are crucial safety devices for preventing falls, mainly when deckhands are working at heights or near the edge of the vessel. These are typically used with lifelines, providing a secure point of attachment and keeping the wearer safe if they lose their footing.
Despite having the best safety equipment, deckhands might still suffer injuries. Understanding their options for compensation may make it easier for them to determine how to handle the aftermath of an injurious situation.