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Covid-19 | Hygiene Plan for Ports

Use this checklist to implement and review a hygiene plan for Covid-19 containment in your port.

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Hygiene Plan for Ports Allows Reopening

While most ship docks have remained open for the transport of essential goods, closed borders to contain the COVID 19 outbreak meant that many other goods could no longer be transported initially. With further relaxation, ports were allowed to reopen in compliance with infection control and implementation of hygiene and safety measures.

For the respective port authorities and shipping experts, this meant not only coping with the increase in cargo but also continuing operations with appropriate precautions.

Every port was obliged to draw up a hygiene plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus further and to ensure the health of staff and crew. In this case, checklists can help to implement the individual hygiene plan at the port and promote regular monitoring of the measures.

In this article we will briefly discuss:

1. Control of Covid-19 through hygiene concept for ports

2. Why inspections are important for the hygiene plan in ports

3. Which is why digital checklists are the best solution

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Control of COVID-19 by Hygiene Plan at Ports

Despite some international border closures, the need for a continuous flow of vital goods has not interrupted the supply chains in the shipping, distribution and forwarding sectors. Containing the spread of the new coronavirus is also a top priority for port operators. The members of the International Association of Ports and Port Facilities (IAPH) have therefore taken it upon themselves to continue operations in accordance with the directive "business as usual".

Even before the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the protection against infection and the fight against infectious diseases was an important task in everyday port operations. The respective port health authority is responsible for enabling and monitoring this. As a result of the intensive international shipping traffic, infectious diseases are spreading much faster today than in the past.

The SARS epidemic in 2003 prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise the "International Health Regulations" (IHR). In 2005, the Member States signed the new IHR, thereby declaring their willingness to commit themselves to the international fight against infectious diseases. For the ports involved, this means in concrete terms that in the event of an outbreak of infectious disease, a emergency plan, a quarantine room and a crisis service must exist.

As part of the COVID-19 containment, the ports have drawn up a hygiene concept for the facilities and the berthing of the ships. Worldwide, numerous cruise ships and cargo vessels with known or suspected COVID-19 infection are lying under the crew in the port or at anchor. The crew members have to remain on board for weeks as a protective measure. While the passengers were allowed to leave the ships under quarantine conditions.

The "No Sail Order" has made it increasingly difficult for ships to enter numerous ports. Therefore, the shipping industry and ports are working under high pressure on hygiene concepts that set a framework for disease control of COVID-19 on ships. The plans include the following points:

  1. Monitor medical examinations of passengers and crew
  2. Train crew in the prevention of COVID-19
  3. Respond and manage adequately to an outbreak on board
  4. Draw up a detailed operational plan and submit it to the competent authority

Carry Out Inspections on Hygiene Measures at the Port

The federal and state governments have issued guidelines and measures for the reopening of businesses, and these include ports and their facilities, as well as seagoing vessels. In principle, all port operators follow the national guidelines when drawing up a hygiene plan. In general, the following hygiene measures apply to all employees in and around ports:

  • Employees should stay at home if they show symptoms and have had contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 infection.
  • The state of health of the employees must be queried and monitored.
  • The hands should be washed thoroughly at regular intervals.
  • The sneezing label should be adhered to.
  • You should use paper towels that are thrown away immediately after use - both for washing your hands and for blowing your nose.
  • During work, touch your nose, mouth, or face as little as possible.
  • Shake hands and refrain from hugging.
  • Surfaces with high contact density must be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • The employee must be provided with personal protective equipment if the social distance is not possible.
  • Employers should follow the recommendations of the authorities about their employees to avoid possible infection among themselves.

Inspections with checklists can help companies in the maritime industry to identify weak points in their operations, reduce the risk of increased health and safety risks and return to work on-site stronger. Besides, health checks for employees can be easily carried out using a suitable checklist.

In principle, personnel on ships enjoy good health, as they must regularly prove their state of health with a medical certificate. However, crew changes during a pandemic pose a considerable risk. If a crew member suffers from coughing, sneezing, and fever, he should be isolated in his cabin. If he shares the cabin with others, another solution must be found.

Checklists for inspections are also used to keep ports safe and clean to contain the outbreak of Covid-19. Random inspections around the clock help the port authorities to fulfill their responsibilities.

Use Digital Checklists for the Port Hygiene Plan

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published protocols to ensure safe crew transfer and voyages and work in and at ports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Carrying out all measures with the help of analogue checklists is a challenge with weak points and loss of information. Tracking developments, making updates and implementing measures is easier with a digital application. Besides, training and preventive measures can be implemented more easily by sharing all information digitally with all employees.

With Lumiform's mobile app, the hygiene plan for a port can be easily checked by tablet or smartphone - online or offline. The desktop software creates checklists and evaluates the collected data afterwards. This significantly reduces the risk of information loss and documentation errors. Clean, transparent documentation helps to meet all the requirements of a port hygiene concept.

With Lumiform's digital solution, harbourmasters can play it safe when planning hygiene by taking advantage of the following benefits, among others:

  • With the flexible form construction kit, you can create individual inspections for the hygiene plan within minutes, which can be updated at any time.
  • Provide digital checklists of methods for implementing health advice or security measures for port users.
  • Always have the hygiene plan at hand - online and offline.
  • Emergency drills and training are carried out about 30%-50% faster, depending on their scope.

To make it easier for port operators and maritime professionals to continue safe operations in the midst of a global pandemic, we have put together some templates to facilitate the start. All templates can be adapted at any time to internal company and legal requirements - no programming knowledge is required.

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