The shipping industry in the Philippines plays an important role for the development of the country as well as the contribution to the international trade of transport of different products. Philippines provide more than one quarter of the world’s seafarers employed abroad internationally trading ships and its position as the world’s leading suppliers of seafarers .Filipino seafarers have also become a vital component of the country’s Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) economy (Amante, 2005). Different foreign and local shipping companies provide one of the largest job opportunities for the Filipino seafarers. Philippines is the leading maritime manpower in its industry, contributing about 30 percent of the whole number of the seafarers globally (Samante, 2007). On the other hand, this increasing interest of individuals to engage themselves in the occupation at sea provides higher chances of risk and danger. Occupational health and safety of seafarers is a basic human necessity with their work environment not only for the seafarers but as well as other workers. Most of the seafarers are engaged in carrying hazardous products on board resulting in higher risks and accidents if not managed properly. Most of the seafarers refer their nature of work as dirty, dangerous, and demeaning a (3D) job (Binghay, 2005) that is why seafarers have high possibility of risk and accident with their jobs. In spite of wider range of education, trainings and other procedures, which requires seafarers to upgrade their knowledge and skills throughout their nature of work, there are still large numbers of accidents which occur onboard as well as ailments and sicknesses which seafarers commonly experience and which they have to complain after disembarkation. As stressed by Li & Shiping (2002), to the worldwide seafarers, 6,471 died annually giving an annual mortality rate of 7.6 percent, among which 2,816 cases are due to accidents, giving an accidental rate of 3.30 percent per annum. These conflicts and dilemmas which the seafarers are experiencing point to different factors such as mechanical and human failure and errors. It is very necessary to take appropriate measures in order to avoid accidents and fatalities on board. Throughout the international consultation for new maritime security regime, seafarers’ organizations have supported and positively contributed to the elaboration of many of the measures which have been introduced and which aim to improve maritime security (Goulielmos & Anastasakos, 2005). According to Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and Marine Pollution (MARPOL) conventions, in order to reduce the accident risks, it is appropriate to follow certain navigational regulation and information must be provided to competent authorities about the nature of the dangerous goods being transported on board vessels. It is considered that the shipping is perhaps the most internationally recognized of all the world’s great industries as well as being one of the most dangerous. It has been accepted that the best way of providing safe working condition at sea is by developing international regulations and standards that should be followed by most shipping nation (Pum, Yan, & Lewis, 2003) as well as to require every seafarer to have standard certifications of maritime education and trainings to ensure their competency and safety and to reduce accidents and fatalities on board (Emad & Roth, 2003). Occupational health and safety measures in the field of seafaring play an essential role as basic component at any policy aimed at addressing the plight of Filipino seafarers around the world (Binghay 2005), giving protection and security to the type of work as well as providing the contractual obligations of the ship-owners to seafarers.
Background of the study
Odjfell is one of the leading companies in the global market for transportation and storage of bulk liquid chemicals, acids, edible oils, and other special products. It owns and operates chemical tanker in global and regional trade as well as a network of tank terminals. The growing importance of oil and other liquid products, as well as the greater distance between the areas of production and consumption, can explain the ballooning demand for tanker shipping. Odfjell Manila, commonly known as Odfjell Philippines Inc. is mainly responsible for providing manning requirements for more than 50 of its owned and managed vessels. Odfjell’s Quality work is based on the ISO 9001:2008 standards, quality management system requirements. Operating units have approval according to the international safety management (ISM) code, ISO 9001”2008 standards, ISO 14001:2004 environmental standards and other applicable standards. Its seafarers are required to undergo such trainings and seminars subject to the company’s review and approval prior to sending onboard. In a study entitled “Contradiction in the practices of training for and assessment of competency, Emad and Roth (2003) stressed that each seafarer has specific, multiple, and varied jobs and responsibilities to perform. It is important for the manning agent as well as the ship owner to require their seafarers with proper trainings for them to be skillful and reliable on handling and operating the vessels. Hence, seafarers are observed to perform continuous, careful, and systematic work to improve health and safety at their work environment. Each crew is encouraged to take utmost responsibility for their safety as well as for their colleagues.
Though Odfjell Philippines, Inc. implements standard trainings and procedures for their seafarers, the company still cannot control over human error and avoid some failures on board resulting in medical problems, accidents, and even fatalities of seafarers. Occupational health and safety of every seafarer on board is deemed to be a factor that each shipping company as well as ship owner is to be responsible with. Seafarers should be treated not just like any ordinary workers but an asset of the company to be cared for and to be provided with safe work environments.
From the records of the Odfjell Philippines, Inc., it showed from the comparative statistical records of the company, the numbers of seafarers that disembarked encountering medical problems on board. It gives the summary of the number of sick crews as well as the number of disability and mortality occur every year was uncontrollable since there was difficulty in handling post-medical cases and different accidents occur every now and then, resulting for uneven rate of post medical crew. From the data given, there is a total number of 128 crew with medical problem encountered on board and 152 the following year. This shows that problems happened on board ever now and then giving higher chance of risk to seafarers and that managing the health and safety of seafarers is difficult. Data given explained that that there could be low number of sick crews for a certain year and could be followed by higher number of sick crews which means that health and safety problems of seafarers is unmanageable.
Statement of the problem
Odfjell Philippines Inc. had been very competitive in providing manning requirements on board, and in providing high standard trainings for better performance and safe working condition of each crew. The company is providing seafarers basically from ratings position up to management level positions including officers, engineers, and masters. In spite of providing mainly the manpower to every vessel that the company owns, it has been an issue why accidents and ailments have unevenly arising on board even if crews undergo trainings and standard procedures on how they can maintain safety onboard. The maritime workplace has always been identified as a high risk workplace in which incidents regarding the seafarer’s safety are common problems. In addition, risks occurrence of medical problems onboard a ship to the extent of the threat and danger is arising from every crew of Odfjell’s Vessel. The term “postmed” comes from the word postmedical which means those crews who disembarked with medical problems occurring from their work on board and some, resulting from injuries and accident on boards. The aim of the study is to understand the reasons why Odfjell continues experiencing medical problems and accidents of seafarers as well as to tackle the danger and risks of the life on board. The issue focuses mainly on the situation of every seafarer onboard, giving emphasis that despite of safety precautions, safety and procedures instituted over the years, the welfare of every seafarers remain to be deplorable (Binghay, 2005). There are common reasons why seafarers end up into medical problems and as well as injuries and fatalities on board. Based on the study of Binghay (2009), the common reasons why seafarers end up having medical problems and sometimes injuries are, weather, work loads, maritime disasters, pirates, work conditions (for different positions), home sickness, work dilemmas, stress and also to consider the length hours that the crew should be working. Odfjell Manila, being the provider of seafarers of its vessels, is experiencing difficulties on how to resolve the problem on safety issues among its seafarers and how they can prevent the uncontrollable rate of accident occurring on board. There could be difficulties in tracing the source of dilemmas onboard, would the problems be, on how the company gives trainings and classes to its seafarers or should the company consider the negligence of the seafarers on board? In light of these gaps, the study aims to examine and review the occupational health and safety of the seafarers as well as to understand their situation working for Odfjell Philippines Inc. This study aims to answer the following questions:
1. What is the profile of employees in a shipping company? 2. What problems and dilemmas do every seafarer encounters on board? 3. What positions commonly are engaged in high-risks tasks onboard? 4. What other factors contributes to the health and safety of seafarers? 5. What is the effect of occupational health and safety to the seafarers’ work performance?
Objectives of the study
The purpose of the study is to identify the factors that cause certain problem of occupational health and safety and its consequences to the seafarers of Odfjell Philippines, Inc. specifically the study attempts: 1. To identify the demographic factors affecting occupational health and safety of the seafarers. 2. To investigate the risk factors/ problems and dilemmas that seafarers encounter onboard. 3. To categorize positions prone to high-risks task onboard. 4. To enumerate the underlying factors that contributing to the health and safety of seafarers. 5. To examine the effects of occupational health and safety to seafarers’ work performance.
Hypotheses of the Study
The following hypotheses will be tested in the study:
1. The demographic, work-job and social factors influences the occupational health and safety of the seafarers of Odfjell Philippines, Inc. 2. There is significant difference between different factors affecting the occupational health and safety towards the job performance of the seafarers of Odfjell Philippines, Inc.
Significance of the study
The main concern of the study is to identify the causes to the health and safety issues of the seafarers on board and how it affects mostly the health and safety of each seafarer and also their performance. The study will explain how the company will minimize the percentage of the seafarers who are involved on accidents on board which merely affects their performances. It will primarily benefit the company in minimizing occupational health and safety issues on board as well as obtaining the competitive standard of the company.
The result of the study aims to contribute to existing literatures ...