May 022011

In its latest issue the International Maritime Human Element Bulletin Alert! points out you cannot produce a safety management system on the cheap, nor expect people to snap to attention and follow procedures when the top management fails to provide the resources, while failing to exhibit a positive attitude to safety.

Alert! highlights health, safety, security, environment and quality – the essential components of an integrated management system. Says the publication: “Contributors demonstrate that safety is not something that raises its head at safety meetings, but must be woven into the fabric of both the organisation and the individual, ashore and aboard,” says Alert!.

The issue covers the stumbling blocks to the International Safety Management Code reaching its full potential  A study suggests that while the ISM Code might seem to be just a set of tools, a range of conditions which include full employee participation, the acceptance of seafarers as equal partners, and a radical change of mindset are needed to escape the authoritarian tick-box mentality that it can become in the wrong hands.

Say’s Alert! “Commonsense and seamanship are often forgotten in our regulated world, where blaming and firing people who make mistakes seem a traditional, but self-evidently ineffective ‘incentive’ to improvement. There is a need to view individuals as competent, reliable, capable and professional. A change of attitude to individuals can, it is suggested, make a difference. But attitudes need to be changed from the very top of a company, in its leadership and the fostering of knowledge and skills throughout the organisation. Uncomfortable truths, perhaps?   It is also important that the HSEQ Manager is brought in out of the cold, with proper training veneered onto long industry experience, and allowed to operate close to the centre of an organisation. He or she also needs to be regarded as a help by those aboard ship, whose participation and feedback makes the difference. The development of an informed, reporting and just culture that are the hallmarks of real safety improvement come from a proactive and rewarding atmosphere, in which a genuine safety culture will flourish.   There is also a need for the industry, suggests a contributor in this hard-hitting issue, to recognise some of the recurring problems that must be addressed; such as flaws in bridge resource management, thoughtless design that leads to ‘slips, trips and falls’, enclosed entry procedures and the obsession with trying to do things on the cheap. In this issue of Alert! real experts confront real industry problems, showing that there are no half measures in the development of a positive, integrated attitude to safety and that any approach to HSEQ must be ‘human-centred”.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.