The shipping industry was one of the first industries to implement comprehensive international safety standards set forth by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Lanier Law has now published the Maritime Safety Guide, which condenses the many rules and regulations to help ensure safety across marine waterways.

Maritime workers are exposed to many risks while on duty. According to the CDC, the marine transportation industry recorded 87 fatal injuries between 2011-2017, almost six times the rate of all U.S. workers. During the same period, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows 11,000 non-fatal maritime injuries.

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Maritime regulations

Maritime safety is the collection of measures to protect life and property at sea. Specifically, the guidelines come from the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). SOLAS provisions range from setting the frequency of ship inspections to implementing approved life-saving appliances.

Crew member training and certifications (STCW Standard of Training) also ensure that sailors follow best practices and protocols at sea. IMO generally oversees international shipping safety matters, but the organisation is also responsible for preventing marine and atmospheric pollution.

In addition to SOLAS and STCW requirements, seafarers are faced with other regulations and codes as well, such as the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, MARPOL, Collision Regulations (Colregs), Life-Saving Appliance Code (LSA), Port State Control, the Cargo Security and Storage Code and Fire test procedures.

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Maritime Safety Guide

To help seafarers make sense of this regulatory landscape, Lanier Law has published the Maritime Safety Guide on its website, which can be accessed freely. The law firm feels the Guide sheds some light on the many safety and security risks seafarers are faced with and hopes it will also help to educate others.

Some of the safety tips from Lanier Law:

  • Encourage situational awareness, staying alert to the ship environment.
  • Ensure good visibility and be attentive when moving cargo or when lifting equipment.
  • Report any mechanical malfunctions, electrical breakdowns, spills, or other abnormal incidents.
  • Always follow safety procedures. Wear recommended safety equipment, including helmets, shoes, goggles, etc.
  • Always ready yourself for work.
  • Report any illness. Do not work while injured, tired, or nauseous.
  • Learn maritime safety information from relevant training sessions.

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