Health and safety are of paramount importance in any workplace environment but it takes on an even greater significance when you are working in such a confined and potentially dangerous environment as a cargo ship.

If you are an employee who suffers an accident or illness whilst working on a commercial vessel you will do well to engage the city’s best maritime accident attorneys so that you get the compensation you are entitled to.

In the first instance, it would help to know a bit about working conditions such as whether you are being subjected to the correct levels of ventilation.

Here is a look at the subject of proper airflow for cargo ships, in particular.

Ventilation requirements

A good starting point would be to take a brief overview of the methods of ventilation used on cargo ships and the specific requirements attached to them.

In terms of the cargo itself, not every commodity either needs or will benefit from ventilation during the transport process.

It may also be the case that certain items of cargo might generate heat in transit, such as combustible items and even fruit. Ripening fruit will produce ethylene and levels of CO2 that need to be controlled by adequate ventilation.

Therefore, it is clear that proper ventilation on a cargo ship is of paramount importance in order to ensure that the goods are maintained in good condition and the threat to the health of workers on the ship is not compromised as a result of inadequate ventilation systems.

Constant monitoring

Adequate ventilation is essential as a way of combatting the issue of cargo sweat and ship sweat is also preventable when air quality and temperature conditions are monitored constantly.

The general approach to air quality and safety involves a combination of both mechanical and natural ventilation options. This needs to be in place throughout the ship in the cargo hold areas and also the accommodation areas of the vessel.

There needs to be a procedure in place that ensures inside and outside temperature levels are frequently checked and adjusted, where necessary.

An added risk

It should go without saying that the right level of airflow and the correct amount of purification is essential on any ship but it is of particular relevance with regard to cargo ships because of the potential threats to safety posed by the type of cargo on board.

The amount of time a cargo ship will spend at sea during each trip will mean that the commodities and the workers manning the ship need to be kept in the best condition and as safe as possible throughout the journey.

Good record-keeping is essential

Maintaining a comprehensive record of environmental conditions throughout the journey is a prerequisite of any responsible ship owner and by keeping these records it will help alert those on board as early as possible when there is a potential safety issue.

Accurate records will be a key aspect of any investigation when health and safety protocols are breached or an accident happens, and if there is an incident, it is feasible that compensation could be sought under the protective legislation for seaman known as the Jones Act.