National Maritime Occupational Health & Safety Committee Meeting Report

Our Ref: HSR/4/2
Head Office Circular: NP/173/20
10th July 2020
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


The above meeting took place online on 9th July 2020.

The RMT was represented by National Secretary Darren Procter and Health and Safety Officer Jonathan Havard.

We commented on the safety culture, or lack of it; safety reps onboard are not playing a big enough role and there should be standardised training requirements for both safety reps and the Safety officer. We complained of the lack of interaction with trade unions and between port workers and seafarers, noting that these issues would be raised at a meeting with the Shipping Minister on 13th July 2020. In response, the Chamber of Shipping representative referenced the ILO Guidance on Occupational Safety and Health, suggesting that the NMOHSC look at producing similar guidance.

Other issues which our representatives had an input into at the meeting included asbestos, where the RMT will be providing comments on draft guidance produced over the next few weeks.

Mental health was also discussed, where the RMT’s press release from earlier that day was referenced: Covid-19 has thrown up some incredible challenges for the maritime industry with thousands of seafarers unable to undertake a normal changeover that either has them isolated in some part of the globe unable to return home or stuck at home facing the uncertainty of whether they will have a job to return to and the reality of they and their families finances being thrown into turmoil. Closer to home, around the UK shores, we have unscrupulous employers in the ferry sector exploiting the global pandemic to inflict misery on our members and their families, and in the offshore industry the downturn in the global oil market has given many employers the green light to act similarly.

Your representatives also contributed to the debate on medication on board, where it was suggested that in terms of privacy, the Master should not be made aware of specific medication brought onboard by an individual (this information being kept elsewhere in terms of data protection).

Please make the contents of this Circular available to all appropriate members.

Yours Sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary