Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History

“If You Thought about Those Things, Your Life Would Be a Misery!” Mental Health and the Safety of Seafarers

Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (2020), 119, (1), 197–208.


Seafaring has long been recognised as a hazardous occupation, with the ever-present risk of disease, drowning or serious, often fatal, injuries from fires, accidents, shipwrecks or simply falling overboard. Health and safety concerns about physical dangers came to include illness from toxic substances but only recently has attention turned to the psychological hazards of shipboard living and working under conditions of isolation. A recent survey of seafarers working in the cargo shipping industry is the first sustained, methodical study to investigate the mental wellbeing of ships crews. It provides a wealth of statistical and other information from both crews and the companies employing them that, it is suggested here, is of value for further research, and an opportunity for labour historians.

Access Token
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


Author details

Kirkby, Diane