Arbeids- og miljømedisin


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Health and safety at sea

The administration in the Royal Norwegian Navy decided in January 2001 to start a project of surveillance of the work environment in the whole navy.


The past years, workers in the Royal Norwegian Navy have suspected that factors in their working environment have been the cause of several adverse health effects, such as cancer, birth defects of children and cardiovascular diseases. This has given rise to several articles in the local newspapers in Norway, and a lot of discussion in the Navy itself. The administration of the Royal Norwegian Navy decided in year 2001 to start a project of surveillance of the work environment in the whole navy.

It was clearly stated that the preservation and promotion of health in the work place was a goal of the naval management, and that this project should lead to implementation of action to prevent health hazards. The project is now a co-operation between the Royal Norwegian Navy and the University of Bergen. The project includes a surveillance of all types of marine ships and land based marine work places, such as fortresses, marine schools, workshops, dockyards and stores, as well as office buildings.

The project will be carried out as five separate parts:

  • Work place visits with interviews of employer and employees and a walk-through surveillance
  • A questionnaire among present workers.
  • A questionnaire among previous workers.
  • Special occupational hygienic studies
  • A register study of cancer among the workers.

Planning began in September 2001. The work involved  workplace visits in the autumn 2001, parallel to the planning of the questionnaires.