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Dayworker accountability
Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 3:36 PM
Can a day-worker be made accountable for accidental damage, injury or death. I’ve heard stories of boats catching on fire, people falling from scaffolding and being electrocuted because dayworkers are doing jobs their not trained or qualified to do. Is day-working worth the risk, virtually every shipyard and marina has a policy about day-workers and I want to know who takes on the risk when a boat employs a dayworker, the boat, the shipyard or the humble day-worker? This is a worst case scenario question that deserves an answer because I see far too many yacht captains, crew and dayworkers ignoring their responsibilities and assuming nothing will go wrong.
Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 10:21 PM
The answer to your question is yes .... and no! On a red ensign vessel, the person employing you needs to assess your skill and ability which should be supported by qualifications and experience. If you are not qualified to perform a function onboard, or could not be resonably expected to perform such a function, then the majority of the fault lies with the supervisor and ultimately the Captain. However, under Health and Safety regulations, if you are given a task which you can not safely or adequately perform or is outside your ability levels, then the onus lies on you to state that fact to your supervisor, which will be the Chief Officer. The supervisor has the right to know if you can not perform a set task safely without hazarding yourself or co-workers, or damaging the boat. If you knowingly attempt a task which you are not trained to do, are not qualified for, or have no experience in, then you are at fault. If you damage items, expect to be asked to pay for them. Additionally, you should have already signed some form of dayworker policy form. This should outline your actions and responsibilities as a day worker. On my yacht this states the safety routines, that all COSWP information should be followed, such as working with dangerous chemicals and the wearing of IPE, aswell as doubling up as a time sheet. I hope this has answered your question.
Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2011 10:37 AM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 134

Well put. It may be worth adding is that the boat's insurance policy will protect the Owner from accidents and negligent or incompetent actions by Captain, crew etc providing reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that appropriate personnel have been employed by the Owners/ managers. That does not stop the insurance company going after the person at fault for restitution. Also, I add any dayworkers onto my crewlist and issue temporary contracts with policy clearly spelled out so there are less grey areas as far as legality of employment and liability/ insurance coverage. Always a good idea to tell the insurance company if you are using dayworkers and have agreement in writing - sometimes i have seen a limited number of dayworkers included in the policy wording, but not always.
Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2011 12:59 PM
Joined: 12/07/2010
Posts: 57

Close Chris but negligence is not covered in many policies I know this due to being involved in the actual litigation. Incompetence get's into a hole bag of worms that the attorneys are usually quite hesitant to enter. Anyone may be held accountable it just takes motivation to collect on the account. Such municipal rules may apply, but the rule of the sea supersedes any land based legality. However, I would demand all passports from day-workers to be held in the ships-safe until completion and sign off by supervisor. Then make a record of Passport and save for one year.