In a typical work setting, ship engineers:
- Are responsible for the work done by the engine crew.
- Are responsible for the health and safety of the ship's crew.
- Have a medium level of job-related social contact.
- Communicate with others primarily by face-to-face discussions and over the phone.
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- Often work as part of a team.
Physical Work Conditions
- Often work indoors, but may sometimes work outdoors.
- Are exposed to loud and distracting noise levels and sounds on a daily basis.
- Are regularly exposed to contaminants.
- Are exposed to hot or cold temperatures, depending on the weather, on a daily basis.
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- Are regularly exposed to hazardous equipment, conditions, and situations that may result in minor cuts, scrapes, and burns.
- Sometimes work in cramped places that require getting into awkward positions.
- Sometimes must work in very bright or very dim lighting conditions.
- Occasionally experience whole body vibration while working.
- Sometimes are exposed to high places.
- May wear a special uniform on some ships.
- May work physically near others.
- Must be very exact in their work. Errors could seriously endanger the ship's crew or passengers.
- Must be constantly aware of weather conditions and other changing events.
- Must be sure that all details of the job are done so that engines run properly and efficiently.
- Repeat the same mental and physical activities.
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- Sometimes must match the speed of work to the pace of equipment.
- Often make decisions that affect others, including coworkers and the performance of the vessel. Occasionally they may seek input before making important decisions.
- Set most of their daily tasks and goals without talking to a supervisor first.
- Must meet strict deadlines on a regular basis.
- Work for 60 days and then have 30 days off, if employed on Great Lakes ships. However, these workers do not work in the winter, when the lakes are frozen.
- May work year round on rivers, canals, and in harbors. Some work eight or 12-hour shifts and go home every day. However, ships that make short voyages often do not have engineers.
- Usually stand watch for four hours and are off for eight hours, seven days a week.
- May have long periods away from home.