Ill-fitting PPE ‘a threat to our health and safety’

Council member Jessica Tyson changed into a boiler suit to highlight the problems of the ‘one size fits all’ approach to PPE.

Ill-fitting personal protective equipment is putting seafarers’ health and safety at risk, the Nautilus International UK branch conference heard.

Council member Jessica Tyson changed into a boiler suit to highlight the problems of the ‘one size fits all’ approach to PPE and emergency equipment. She moved a motion warning that a lot of PPE is manufactured to traditional specifications — often meaning it is not suitable for the increasing number of female seafarers.

However, she stressed, the issue affects all seafarers. ‘If you are tall or short, and the equipment does not fit properly, it can be dangerous as you are not able to focus on the job you are meant to be doing,’ she added. ‘We are all different and there should be some understanding of this in the equipment that we have.’

Seconding the motion, Samantha Belfitt told how she had to wear size 10 fire boots, when her shoe size is four. ‘Every time I walked up and down, the boots fell off,’ she recalled.

The meeting gave unanimous support to the motion, which calls for PPE suppliers to design and provide equipment that is fit for purpose and suitable for all seafarers. It also calls for employers to carry out a full risk assessment of all PPE and emergency equipment onboard to ensure that all crew members can use it safely. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016