Our commitment to reducing confined space deaths began four years ago when Maritime Accident Casebook first came to life. Maritime accident investigators consistently expressed, both to us personally, in the reports they produced and in statements made by the organisations they worked for and belonged to, that deaths still occurred at an unacceptable tempo.
In 2010 we made a commitment to spread the message about confined space incidents and established the confined space resource section, now subsumed into the SafeSpace Project. It was the first part of the SafeSpace Project.
In the intervening year we discussed the issues with seafarers, investigators and others to put together this initiative.
There has been much talk, much discussion on this issue. It is time to stop talking and time to do something. That ‘something’ is to directly reach those seafarers who are most at risk, who often have little ownership of their own safety, and through education, awareness and activism empower them to work safely.
True, the safety culture of a company and its ships is defined by the attitude and commitment of its management. For that to work there must be fertile ground to plant the seeds of safety.
Unlike many other classes of accident it only takes one person to reduce the toll of confined space fatalities, the person at the pointy end.
If we demonstrate our commitment to the seafarer then even if his or her own company lacks an appropriate safety culture perhaps we can make that seafarer part of ours.
Few would deny that radical change is needed. Historically, change comes from the bottom up not from the top down.
That is why the seafarer must be more than a recipient of knowledge but an active promoter of safety.
SafeSpace is not about what the IMO, or any other organisation or company can do or should do, it’s about what we ourselves can do to make change happen.
Your task is to commit to doing something, right now. It doesn’t matter how small.
Working together we can make the difference.
Consider this our manifesto.