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Health and Safety on Land and Sea: Norstar Crew Management

31 August 2023

In today’s world, health and safety are crucial for all organizations, even more so for the shipping industry. That is why at Norstar, health, and safety are our utmost priorities. We acknowledge that a safe and healthy work environment is essential for the well-being of our crew, as well as for the efficient and successful functioning of our operations. Therefore, we follow the highest health and safety protocols standards and implement them across all our vessels and offices.

Working on a ship comes with its unique set of challenges and risks, which can have serious consequences for the health and safety of the crew members. For example, common hazards seafarers may face while on board include accidents, injuries, illnesses, exposure to extreme weather conditions, and mental health issues due to prolonged periods away from home. To combat this, Norstar has a comprehensive health and safety management system that mitigates these risks and ensures that our crew members are well-prepared to handle unforeseen circumstances.

Key Health and Safety Concerns for the Crew

At Norstar, we recognize that the health and safety of our crew members are critical to the success of our operations. As such, we implement measures to ensure our crew members remain healthy and safe while onboard our vessels.

Before we delve into Norstar’s best practices for health and safety, it is important to understand the critical health and safety concerns that seafarers may face and how to address them first.

Fatigue, Mental Health Issues, and Physical Injuries

Working at sea can be physically and mentally demanding, and crew members may experience fatigue, stress, and other mental health issues. These factors can lead to physical injuries, accidents, and loss of productivity. To address these concerns, we abide by the STCW 2010 and MLC 2006 and provide our crew members with regular rest periods. Our crew members also receive employee benefits, including Marine Benefits, which offers a health insurance plan covering all our seafarers and their families. Moreover, they have access to platforms like the Norstar WellAtSea Program, available to all crew members sailing on Norstar-managed vessels.

We prioritize regular check-ins with our crew members to gain insight into how they are specifically managing the demands of their job and ensuring they can perform their duties safely.

Hygiene and Sanitation Practices

Maintaining good hygiene and sanitation practices is crucial in preventing the spread of illnesses on board ships. We provide our crew members with ample supplies of soap, water, and hand sanitisers. Additionally, we enforce strict cleaning and disinfection protocols across all our vessels. We also conduct pre-departure  health screenings  to ensure our crew members are deemed fit for their respective voyages.

Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals and Substances:

Crew members are sometimes exposed to hazardous chemicals and substances on board ships, which can pose serious long-term health effects. Therefore, Norstar takes the necessary precautions to minimize these risks. Such measures include providing appropriate personal protective equipment, conducting regular safety drills, and ensuring that all crew members receive comprehensive safety training. Norstar also enforces strict safety protocols to ensure our crew members handle hazardous materials safely.

The Importance of Training and Education

At Norstar, we understand that providing our crew members with appropriate training and education is essential to ensure their safety and well-being while on board our vessels. Here’s why training and education are crucial.

Increased Safety and Productivity

A well-trained crew is more capable of identifying and mitigating risks, which in turn leads to increased safety and productivity on board ships. We regularly train and educate our crew members to keep them up to date with the latest safety procedures and protocols. This ensures that they are better equipped to handle emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances, which ultimately leads to a safer and more productive work environment. Norstar also arranges 2 crew seminars a year in addition to regular training and safety forums.

Reduced Risks of Accidents and Injuries

Proper training and education can significantly reduce the risks of accidents and injuries on board ships. We train our crew members to handle different equipment, machinery, and tools safely. We also provide regular safety training both on board and at shore to ensure that our crew members are aware of the potential hazards that they may encounter while on board. This knowledge and skill set are crucial in ensuring our crew members remain safe while performing their duties.

What are the benefits of having a well-trained crew?

As we have established earlier, training and education will result in a crew prepared to execute a safe and successful shipping operation. With that being said, having a well-trained crew brings about other benefits. Here are some of the benefits of investing in our crew members’ training and education:

Reduced Costs

According to a research study conducted by the National Safety Council, the estimated cost of a lost time injury (LTI) in the workplace is approximately $40,000. This figure takes into account medical expenses, lost productivity, administrative costs, and other associated expenses.

By investing in crew members’ training and education to enhance safety practices and prevent accidents, companies can potentially save up to $40,000 per incident in costs related to LTIs. A well-trained crew’s ability to identify and mitigate risks, maintain equipment properly, and prevent breakdowns can significantly reduce the likelihood of workplace injuries, thus leading to substantial cost savings for the organization.

Improved Decision Making

Well-trained crew members are more capable of making informed decisions quickly and effectively. They have a deeper understanding of the various factors that impact their work, such as weather conditions, vessel operations, and cargo handling. This enables them to make better decisions that align with the company’s objectives and contribute to the overall success of the operation.

Improved Morale

Providing our crew members with opportunities for training and education can help improve their morale and job satisfaction. This shows that we value their contributions and commit to their professional development. This, in turn, can lead to increased motivation and better performance on board ships.

Regulatory Requirements in Singapore

At Norstar, we recognize the importance of complying with regulatory requirements for Health and Safety in the shipping industry. Here are some of the key regulations and guidelines that we follow to ensure the safety and well-being of our crew members:

International Maritime Organization (IMO) Regulations and Guidelines

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping and promoting safety at sea. The IMO has developed several regulations and guidelines for Health and Safety in the shipping industry. These include the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, which sets out the minimum safety management requirements for ships, and the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention), which sets the minimum training and certification requirements for seafarers.

Regulations and Guidelines in Singapore

In Singapore, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is responsible for regulating the shipping industry and ensuring compliance with international standards. The MPA has developed several regulations and guidelines for Health and Safety in the shipping industry. These include the Port Marine Safety Code, which sets out the safety management requirements for port operators, and the Singapore Standard for Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems (SS 506), which sets out the requirements for developing and implementing Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems (OSHMS) in the workplace.

Other Guidelines

In addition to the regulations and guidelines set out by the IMO and the MPA, Norstar follows several other guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of our crew members. These include the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers, which guides safe working practices on board ships, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). These aforementioned protocols set the standards for working and living conditions on board ships, and Norstar follows them strictly.

Best Practices for Ensuring Health and Safety on Board Ships

Norstar’s Marine Department conducting a Ship Shore Drill with one of our managed vessels, Oriental Viola in July 2023

At Norstar ,ensuring Health and Safety on board ships is critical for the well-being of our crew members and the continued success of our shipping operations. Therefore, here are some of the best practices we follow to ensure that our crew members work in a safe and healthy environment:

Regular Safety Inspections and Drills:

Regular safety inspections and drills are essential for identifying potential hazards and ensuring that our crew members are prepared for emergencies. Norstar conducts regular safety inspections to identify and address any potential hazards on board our ships and also conducts regular safety drills to ensure that our crew members are trained and prepared to respond to emergencies.

Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical for protecting crew members from potential hazards on board ships. We provide our crew members with appropriate PPE, such as hard hats, safety shoes, and gloves, to protect them from physical hazards. We also provide respiratory protection equipment, such as masks, to protect our crew members from exposure to hazardous chemicals and substances.

Good Hygiene and Sanitation Practices:

Maintaining good hygiene and sanitation practices is critical for preventing the spread of illnesses on board ships. We provide our crew members with appropriate facilities and supplies to maintain good hygiene and sanitation practices, such as handwashing stations and disinfectants.

Proper Maintenance and Repair of Equipment

Proper equipment maintenance and timely repairs are critical for preventing accidents and injuries on board ships. That is why Norstar conducts regular maintenance and reparation work to ensure that our ships are in good working order and do not pose any hazards.

Ensuring the Health and Safety of Crew on Land

At Norstar, we prioritize the health and safety of our crew members not only on board ships but while they are also on land. Therefore, we implement additional measures to ensure that our crew members are safe and healthy, even when they are not being deployed.

Medical Facilities and Support

To address medical emergencies and promote crew health, Norstar offers crew members access to wellness programs and medical resources, including Norstar WellAtSea program and Marine Benefits. These benefits encompass a comprehensive wellness platform and extensive medical insurance coverage that includes routine check-ups, medical consultations, and facility access.

Training and Education:

Even when they are not being deployed, Norstar provides crew members with training and education on Health and Safety practices. We have in-house training facilities along with a dedicated training manager to conduct regular training sessions at our Yangon office. In this programme, crew members learn how to identify and manage potential hazards and how to respond to medical emergencies. Moreover, we also conduct refresher courses to ensure that crew members are prepared to handle any potential risks or emergencies.


In conclusion, Health and Safety is a top priority for Norstar when it comes to managing our crew members, both on land and at sea. That is why we take steps to ensure that they are safe and healthy while they carry out their duties.

At Norstar, we recognize the hazards that our crew members may face, such as fatigue on board ships. Therefore, to address these concerns, we implement strict protocols for maintaining good hygiene and sanitation practices, managing hazardous substances, and providing proper training and education to crew members.

Norstar also ensures the Health and Safety of our crew members on land by considering environmental factors, conducting regular safety drills, providing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and offering resources to support their mental health and wellbeing . In doing so, we increase their productivity and job satisfaction, resulting in a more successful and prosperous organization.

As we aim to set an example in the industry for prioritizing the well-being of our crew, we strive to not only meet international and local guidelines but also exceed them. Our goal is to safeguard our crew members by providing a work environment that is healthy, safe, and fulfilling.

Health and safety are fundamental aspects of what we do. That is why, Norstar provides a safe and healthy working environment for our crew members to prevent accidents and injuries and ensure their well-being. Moving forward, Norstar continues to implement best practices in our Health and Safety programs to maintain our commitment to our crew members’ safety and well-being.


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