Mortality among Finnish seafarers in 2001-2013

Hanna Rinne, Rehabilitation Foundation, Finland
Riikka Shemeikka, Rehabilitation Foundation, Finland
Veijo J. Notkola, Rehabilitation Foundation, Finland

Previous studies have shown that seafarers have high risk of mortality. Seafarers are exposed to many occupational risk factors and risky health behavior (Oldenburg et al. 2010). Earlier studies in Finland have shown that also Finnish seafarers have had high risk of mortality due to different causes of death (Marin 1986; Notkola et al. 1995). The main aim of this study is to examine, whether there are still differences in mortality by cause of death between seafarers and other employees in Finland. In addition, variation in seafarers’ mortality between different occupational groups is analyzed. We used longitudinal individual level register based data from the registers of The Seafarer’s Pension Fund of Finland, Statistics Finland and The Finnish Centre for Pensions. Study population was 25-64 years old seafarers during the year 2000 and reference population all other employees. The follow-up period was 2001-2013. Analysis methods included death rates (SDR per 10 000 py), age standardized mortality ratios (SMR) and confidence intervals. Mortality among seafarers was 1.3 times higher than among other employees. Among men, crew members had higher risk of death than officers. Engine personnel had higher risk of death than deck personnel. Engine crew had the highest mortality (SMR 195). Mortality seemed to be highest in tankers. Among females mortality was highest among galley crew (SMR 171). The highest SMRs were found in diseases of respiratory system (SMR 239) among men and lung cancer (SMR 346) among females. Lung cancer mortality was also high among male seafarers (SMR 148). The alcohol-related mortality was 1.6 times higher among male and even 2.7 times higher among female seafarers than among other employees. Despite improvements in occupational safety standards on board and health behavior campaigns seafaring is still a high risk occupation. Alcohol and smoking related early prevention is important.

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Presented in Poster Session 2