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Report on work-related disease

3 January 2002 This report is a summary of the supervision of work-related disease, where we also attempt to incorporate some of the experience we find in this area in the industry. By means of this report, we want to address all personnel in the industry who will have a role in the work on work-related disease. This will include health personnel offshore and in the support apparatus, safety personnel, line managers and management in the companies.


Summary

· The companies' audit reports show the following general main features:

  • The contractors' handling of work-related disease has substantial weaknesses in relation to the regulatory requirements. The NPD believes there is a need for an improvement here, both in the individual company and in the industry as a whole.
  • The operating companies were not very vigilant in their duty to follow-up the contractors with regard to such requirements. The NPD sees a need to reinforce this duty through closer follow-up of the contractors. Operators and shipowners have a clear responsibility to place demands on the contractor for comprehensive handling of work-related disease as early as when the contract is signed.
  • Several companies have not established concrete goals for the work on work-related disease. Existing goals are largely limited to quantifying the incidence of work-related disease. The NPD sees a need for establishing better goals for following up work-related disease. The NPD believes it is important that the companies' "zero vision" is translated into activity goals to reinforce the scope and quality of the follow-up, and to facilitate continuous improvement.
  • Line management is responsible for following up work-related disease, while the company health service is responsible for recording and reporting disease/ailments. The least clear lines of responsibility were found among shipowners and contractors. The NPD sees a need to clarify responsibility between the health service and line management to ensure systematic and comprehensive follow-up of work-related disease.
  • Few companies safeguard the requirements related to use of goal-oriented health examinations to monitor risk and ensure active prevention. The NPD's assessment as regards most companies was that neither systems nor practices were satisfactory. The NPD sees a need for better clarification of this area and will follow this up in the continued activity.
  • Significant weaknesses were discovered on the part of several of the companies with regard to establishment of an internal registration system. Thus they also do not report work-related disease to the NPD in accordance with the requirements. The use of data internally is also weak in several of the companies. The NPD expects an improvement in this area so that regulatory requirements are safeguarded. Feedback from several of the companies indicates that the reporting criteria should be reviewed and possibly amended. The NPD will follow up on this in the continuing work.
  • Work site assessments are rarely conducted in connection with work-related disease. The NPD views this as insufficient and not in compliance with the regulations. The companies must establish systems to ensure appropriate assessment of work sites in all cases where this is relevant to identify causal relations and to ensure prevention.
The companies have only to a small extent documented that they have systems or routines for following up employees with work-related diseases in the workplace. The NPD sees a clear need to strengthen efforts aimed at individual follow-up and facilitation, not least in the interest of reducing the risk of long-term sick leave and rejection from offshore work due to health problems. The companies themselves have identified a need for improvement measures. The NPD expects that the companies follow up and implement such measures. The NPD will follow up with new supervision activities and seminars on this topic.