UK P&I Club advises on the risks of seafarers suffering burns at sea

UK P&I Club has published a guide on the risk of burns at sea and the safe practices to prevent them.

There are still a worrying number of seafarers suffering appalling physical pain, disfigurement, amputations and loss of life as a result of burns. When burn injuries happen at sea the consequences may become dangerously aggravated in the absence of prompt medical advice and treatment.

Captain David Nichol, Senior Loss Prevention Executive at UK P&I Club said: “In any workplace, the risk presented to personnel from burns is an issue that needs to be taken extremely seriously. This is even more relevant in a maritime environment, due to the nature of shipboard operations and the fact that crew may be thousands of miles from the nearest hospital.

“This guide is designed to inform, raise awareness and reinforce the importance of following best practice which could go a long way to preventing many avoidable burn injuries.”

The most common causes of burn injuries to crew onboard ships are contact with heated surfaces, steam or hot fluid burns, exposure to hot or burning solids, liquids or gases, chemical, electrical and cold burns. Depending on its severity, a burn will be graded as first, second, or third degree, the latter being the most severe and may extend to the underlying fat, muscle and bone.

UK P&I Club’s guide advises ship’s masters and crew to be fully aware of the potentially life threatening complications that may result from the loss of the protective skin layer, including infection, hypothermia, dehydration and shock.

To reduce the risk of serious burn injuries to ships crews, UK P&I Club recommendations include the following:

  • Raise awareness to the potential risks of burn injuries
  • Carry out ship specific training and familiarisation on burn hazard recognition and safe working practices
  • Apply meaningful risk assessments and permits to work to operations which may expose crew to burns
  • Always wear proper work clothes and personal protective equipment
  • Be aware of correct first aid actions and always seek prompt professional medical advice

You can read UK P&I Club’s latest Risk Focus report on burn injuries here: