Though the COVID-19 pandemic has put most of the world on hold, the same cannot be said for the work of various frontliners in different fields. Healthcare workers, grocery store employees, and yes, even seafarers, are all part of this team staying in the frontlines in order to keep the world running while the rest stay at home.
Seafarers and maritime professionals, in particular, are also quite susceptible to the virus. They are interacting with people from different ports, making it riskier for their health. Even with safety training in place, a pandemic this huge will definitely leave essential workers vulnerable.
With this, the following are necessities for every maritime worker to protect themselves from the disease.
Personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a collective term for various attires that are needed to protect oneself from infection. For the general public, facemasks are usually recommended in order to cover up droplets coming from sneezing and coughing. But for frontliners, health professionals in particular, they wear gloves, face shields, and gowns for complete protection. Seafarers can settle for facemasks and gloves, but they also need to disinfect regularly for the safety of their offshore and maritime operations, which brings us to the next item.
Alcohol and sanitizers
It’s recommended to wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. But there may be times where you can’t access soap immediately. With this, it’s handy to have alcohol or sanitizers in your pocket while working. This is so you can sanitize and disinfect before, during, and after your duties conveniently. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of alcohol or sanitizers “with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.”
Aside from alcohol and sanitizers, you should also have your own disinfecting solutions and sprays. The virus can stay on surfaces for a certain amount of time, so it’s best to clean with these solutions regularly. Wipe frequently touched things such as tabletops, door handles, phones, laptops, light switches, and more. Make sure you wear gloves while disinfecting as well.
While your vessel should have thermal scanners for the whole crew, you can also bring a thermometer of your own. Use this to check if you have any fever as it’s one of the primary symptoms of COVID-19. This also goes without saying, but make sure the thermometer is for your own use only as the virus can spread through physical contact as well. If you see that you have a fever as well as other common symptoms, isolate immediately and monitor to see if they worsen.
The pandemic will not stop essential operations from happening as without them, millions of people staying at home will suffer. At the same time, seafarers cannot function without protection from COVID-19. By having the above items on hand in conjunction with proper monitoring and health protocols, the spread of the disease to maritime professionals can be avoided.