2 health and safety issues that often arise during the building of marine structures

There are certain health and safety issues which only tend to arise during projects which involve the building of commercial marine structures. Here are some examples of these issues, along with advice that commercial marine contractors should heed to prevent these problems from occurring.

1. Water-borne diseases

Marine contractors and the labourers they employ to assist them with the building of marine structures are at risk of developing water-borne diseases. The reason for this is as follows; whilst those who participate in these projects rarely, if ever, need to actually immerse themselves in the body of water they are working near, it is very common for them to end up being splashed with water or to end up falling into it. If the body of water is contaminated with viruses or bacteria, there is a risk that this exposure to the water could make these workers extremely ill. For example, exposure to cyanobacteria (a strain of bacteria that is often found in sea and lake water), can cause serious symptoms, including organ damage and respiratory distress.

Likewise, exposure to water-borne cryptosporidiosis pathogens can cause vomiting, stomach cramps, high temperature and dehydration. Marine contractors should make their crew aware of the risks of coming into contact with the water during the course of the project and should ensure that these people understand how to protect themselves. For example, they should be informed that if they fall into the body of water or if the water splashes onto their face, they should rinse themselves off with clean water and thoroughly wash their hands and mouth to minimise their risk of ingesting any dangerous pathogens.

2. Drowning

Whenever marine structures are being built, there is a risk that those involved in the construction process could drown. This is most likely to occur if the structure is being created near a deep body of water or during extreme weather conditions. Marine contractors must do everything in their power to prevent this from happening. They should, for example, ensure that there are multiple life rafts available around the construction area and that the condition of these life rafts is checked regularly (as if they develop holes that aren't patched up, they may prove ineffective if someone uses them to try to rescue a drowning worker). Additionally, they should provide those working on buoyant work platforms or on boats with wireless 'man overboard' alarm bracelets; these will immediately sound an alarm if the wearer enters the water.