The subject of adequate ventilation in the workplace is a hot topic of discussion as a result of the global pandemic and it has always been a vital health and safety issue when it comes to protecting workers on cargo ships.
Some workers have already had cause to thank some successful maritime accident attorneys for getting them compensation when inadequate ventilation has led to a dangerous or unsafe incident, and here is a look at what you need to know if you work on a cargo ship.
The importance of good airflow
Although the concept of a cargo ship might seem more straightforward in comparison to a cruise liner as a result of carrying goods rather than passengers, other than crew members, it is still essential that a proper ventilation system remains operational throughout the journey.
Clearly, adequate ventilation is required on board any sort of vessel, but when you consider that cargo ships are specifically built for long-distance trips it becomes immediately apparent that any perishables, chemicals, and other goods in transit need to be maintained and stored properly for the duration of the journey.
If this is not the case, not only will it potentially damage these items but it could create a dangerous scenario for workers, especially if chemicals are present and the ventilation system is not up to the required standard.
Fulfilling ventilation needs for different types of cargo
Cargo ships will be tasked with carrying a wide variety of different materials and, in basic terms, most types of cargo will be classified into one of two very distinct categories.
One of the biggest challenges is dealing with moisture in order to prevent damage or contamination and if the cargo is classified as hygroscopic that will mean that the cargo item contains a level of natural moisture.
Conversely, non-hygroscopic cargo will often be items that don’t contain natural moisture but are vulnerable to changes in humidity and temperature.
If a ship is carrying non-hygroscopic cargo it will usually be the case that tighter ventilation requirements will be in operation as a way of avoiding so-called cargo or ship sweat, which is a primary cause of cargo damage.
Lack of ventilation is not only potentially damaging for the cargo being carried but it also has the potential to create hazardous working conditions.
A common cause of damage and accidents is when the levels of ventilation are not properly monitored on a regular basis, in particular, during the night when the temperature is most likely to drop and vary.
It is essential that those responsible for running and maintaining the cargo vessel maintain accurate records of environmental conditions on board so that they can adjust the temperature when required and keep the ship safe and well ventilated.
Immediate or long-term physical injuries often occur when there is a failure to understand ventilation requirements or maintenance records have not been monitored and actioned correctly.
Understanding the need for maintaining a correctly ventilated cargo ship can help everyone working on the ship to stay as safe as possible and keep the cargo well preserved for when it arrives at its final destination.