The number of reported industrial injuries among seafarers working on Danish-registered ships dropped in the first six months of the year during COVID-19.
“Compared with previous years, we have experienced a reduction in the number of reported industrial injuries since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The period in question is too short, however, to allow us to draw any conclusions about the development, but it is a trend that we have noticed in the past six months,” says Jacob Munch, CEO of the Danish Shipowners' Accident Insurance Association (UFDS).
Part of the explanation may be that many industries, especially within offshore and passenger transport, have experienced a drop in activity, and as a result UFDS has also seen a drop in the number of days worked by the seafarers.
Jacob Munch adds that the shipping companies should be aware that they are not required to insure employees that have been sent home due to COVID-19.
“Some shipping companies may not be aware of this if they continue to pay the employees, and if the calculation of the number of days at sea is based on a calculation in their payroll system,” says Jacob Munch.
No COVID-19 claims
At this stage, UFDS has not been notified of any industrial injuries related to COVID-19
“At present, we are not aware of any injuries among the seafarers,” says Jacob Munch.
He adds that, as a general rule, an injury is only reported to UFDS if it is likely to cause permanent disability or long-term absence from work.
“As for other types of injuries and accidents, we only have to report a case to the Labour Market Insurance if It is likely to result in permanent disability, loss of capacity to work or extended absence,” says Frederik Nielsen.
As a general rule, injury or accident is reported by the employers, but if this does not happen or is not possible for various reasons, a seafarer may contact UFDS or the Labour Market Insurance directly.
As of 28 September, the Labour Market Insurance has finalised 615 claims related to COVID-19 out of a total of 1341 reported claims relating directly to the illness or claims involving allergy caused by the use of PPE, or similar. Of the 615 finalised claims, 371 were approved, while 244 were rejected.
Of the finalised cases, all those involving an individual contracting COVID-19 after being exposed to the virus at work were approved.
In addition to cases involving COVID-19 infection, the Labour Market Insurance receives claim notifications about other illnesses related to the pandemic on an ongoing basis. The claims that have been rejected do not involve the COVID-19 diagnosis but other cases related to the pandemic.