HC Deb 09 July 1981 vol 8 c168W
Mr. Prescott

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many seafarers employed in United Kingdom registered ships died as a result of falling overboard and being washed overboard in each year since 1975; what incidence of deaths per 100,000 at risk these figures represent; and what specific measures are being taken to reduce this type of accident.

Mr. Eyre

Deaths from these causes in respect of merchant ships registered in the United Kingdom and recorded by the Registrar of Shipping and Seamen were:

1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Estimated number at risk ('000s) 108 103 95 88 82
Deaths due to falls overboard 5 6 2 8 8
(incidence per 100,000 at risk) (4.6) (5.8) (2.1) (9.1) (9.8)
Deaths due to being washed overboard 1 1
(incidence per 100,000 at risk) (1.1) (1.1)

In addition deaths recorded as missing at sea were as follows:

1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
6 12 12 13 8
(5.5) (11.6) (12.6) (14.8) (9.8)

Statistics for 1980 are not yet available.

The Department of Trade proposes to make two sets of regulations which include provisions bearing specifically on these types of deaths.

The first relates to the provision and use of protective clothing and equipment which will require the use of safety harnesses, lifelines and lifejackets for all work overboard or in any area where there is a risk of falling overboard or in any exposed position where there is a risk of being washed overboard.

The second relates to safe movement about ship and includes provisions about effective lighting and the locking of any removable sections in a ship's rails.