By Capt. Mayuresh Jayade, Group Marine & Safety Manager | March 8, 2023
Creating a safe work environment onboard vessels and in offices helps prevent accidents, injuries, illness, and the consequential direct and indirect costs caused by them.
Human life is irreplaceable!
Safety is part of Thome’s core values- ‘ExCITES’- as the company is fully committed to safety and has developed safe working procedures as part of the Safety Management System (SMS). However, having a safety policy signed by the CEO, comprehensive safety procedures, or even state-of-the-art personal protective equipment (PPE) will never replace every individual’s required safety mindset and behavior-based safety approach where compliance is willful and consistent. Safety culture is more than a collection of procedures and regulations; it’s an organisational atmosphere that puts safety and health at the heart of everything we do.
The success of the work activity largely depends on how well it was planned and executed as per the plan. Risk assessments and permit-to-work documents are often filled up merely for audit formality. The actual work activity is conducted in a manner that is more convenient and quicker. A proper work plan includes a detailed assessment of hazards at the worksite, establishing the likelihood of hazard occurrence, and placing appropriate safeguards to prevent or mitigate the severity should there be an incident.
Thome’s procedures also require additional assessment of crew fitness to work, experience, and qualifications to ensure appropriate supervision is always in place.
A safety meeting and toolbox talks held by the department head or the Master at the worksite help to reinforce understanding of safety measures with all crew members involved in the task. To contribute to the safety discussion, ensuring the inclusiveness of all crew regardless of rank or experience is important. Collaborative safety meetings help overcome language barriers, issues related to uncomfortable or outdated PPE, and complacency due to weak links in the team.
The intervention policy of Thome empowers every employee to stop any unsafe act or abort the work if an unsafe condition develops during the process by issuing a STOPER card and reporting immediately. The life-saving rules further provide a procedural framework for enhancing workplace safety, investigating undesired events, and deriving key lessons learned from such events for future prevention.
Thome has also implemented the ‘Partners in Safety’ program and firmly believes in one of the principles of this program, which is ‘visible leadership’ where our top management regularly engages with office and vessel employees to discuss safety programs, issues faced by employees and seek feedback to improve the safety culture. ‘Walking the talk’ helps to drive safety compliance more effectively as the belief gets stronger when senior management leads from the front to inculcate a safety culture.
Employees need consistent reinforcement in Thome’s procedures and other regulatory standards. Periodic refresher training through CBT or crew seminars helps to raise awareness and improve behavior-based safety, an essential ingredient for ensuring continual safety compliance.