Passengers at risk because of tired ferry workers
Exhausted cross-Channel ferry workers suffering from sleep deprivation and stress are a danger to their ships and passengers, a report has found.
The revelation came after ferry officers from the Dover-Calais operator P&O took part in a survey to measure their well-being, hours of work, watch-keeping and fatigue.
Results showed that half of the 500 workers who completed questionnaires presented a danger to either themselves or to the ship they worked on.
The report was leaked to the Dover Express newspaper by a worker.
Professor Andy Smith, an occupational and health psychologist at Cardiff University who conducted the in-house study, claimed job demands and the high volume of crossings contributed to high levels of fatigue amongst crews.
He also found that fatigue-related incidents or accidents were frequent in both marine and customer service departments.
P&O Ferries confirmed that it regularly carries out surveys to assess the ever-changing conditions on its ferries and would act on recommendations outlined in the report.
But an industry insider said: “There were rumours the company wanted to change shifts from one-week on, one week-off to two weeks on, two weeks off.
“Management commissioned this survey but they’re not too happy with the results.
“They were hoping to hear that everything is rosy on-board but the findings seem to suggest otherwise.”
The report has now been placed in staff areas on board P&O’s fleet for crew to read and it is understood a working group made up of management and union representatives has been set up to analyse the findings.
A P&O spokesman said: “We constantly audit every aspect of our business – it’s not like running a hotel, we’ve got an ever-changing environment and conditions to take into account.
“The weather can play a huge part in our operations and the usual seasonal break we get at this time of year from the wintry and windy conditions hasn’t really arrived.
“We take what we need from this report and work at the findings.”