Ship Safety Officer Checklist For Ship’s Working Environment

Every ship appoints a ship safety officer to handle important safety issues related to the ship and the crew. The safety officer acts as the safety advisor on board ships and ensures that all requirements related to health and safety are met.

On the basis of risk assessments and investigations, the ship safety officer makes recommendations to the master on health and safety matters. It is the duty of the safety officer to lookout for potential hazards and means of preventing incidents on board ship.

Following is the list of things the safety officer must consider during inspection of working environment and condition. Note that this is not an exhaustive list and it should vary according to the design and type of ship.

safety officer
Image Credits: Wikipedia

Access Area

  • Ensure that all means of access such as ladders and stairs are in safe condition, well lit, and unobstructed
  • Warning notices are put in case access is in dangerous condition or removed for maintenance
  • Access for both transit and working purposes are marked, well lit, unobstructed, and safe
  • All gears/equipment stowed in the access area are properly secured
  • The guard-rail are in good condition, secure, and in place
  • All fixtures and fittings that cause potential hazards are suitable painted and marked
  • All openings through which a person can fall, are fenced suitably
  • All portable ladders are properly secured and at safe angle.

 Working Area

  • The ship’s working environment must be safe to enter and without any obstruction
  • All levels of the area must be adequately lit
  • The area should be well ventilated
  • The area should be clear off all unwanted items, rubbish, combustible material, oil spill etc.
  • All unnecessary dangerous goods and substances are not left unnecessary in the area or stored dangerously
  • All loose tools, stores and similar items are kept at dedicated places and secured properly

 Working Condition

  •  The machinery system are properly guarded where necessary
  • All necessary operating instructions are clearly displayed
  • All required safety signs are clearly displayed
  • Work-to-permit is taken where ever required
  • All crew members must wear personal protective clothing and equipment
  • All protective clothing and equipment are in good condition and used properly
  • Ensure that proper steps are being taken to rectify defective equipment/machinery system
  • Adequate supervision is provided for new or inexperienced crew.

It is the duty of the the safety officer to check that all statutory regulations and company safety procedures are complied with. He must also ensure that all safety procedures provided by publications and company are followed.

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  1. Sir,
    My concern was on the first 12 day cruise out of New York. When disembarking in Barbados the passengers were lined up under the life boats while waiting for shuttle buses.
    My experience of 35 years in high rise commercial construction, along with your show on the building of the Breakaway, tells me, as we always told our people. Never get under anything being lifted above you. This is even mentioned in your show on the ship, Building the Breakaway. This is explained when the engine lift was shown.
    I know the ship is new, and disasters don’t usually happen. But we all know sometimes accidents do occur and results sometimes defy logic. Then the how did this happen questions start.
    I saw the dock in Barbados was very narrow and other ships were already docked.I don’t know if this will be the normal for you or not.
    It might warrant a look to see if there might be a better way.

    Robert Francis

  2. Good day Sir,

    Requesting a guide as a safety officer onboard a layup vessel. What basis criteria should be cover on HSE site. As i’m preparing a safety reporting template for my company. Currently i’m working at Shipcare Company in Malaysia.

    Your kindly assistance muchly appreciated.


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