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Promoting Safety Culture in Shipping: Issues and Strategies. U.R.P. Sudhakar MSc, MBA Marine Consultant. Promoting Safety Culture in Shipping: Issues and Strategies. U.R.P. Sudhakar MSc, MBA Marine Consultant. Presentation Overview. Historical context ISM Code and safety culture

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promoting safety culture in shipping issues and strategies
Promoting Safety Culture in Shipping:Issues and Strategies

U.R.P. Sudhakar MSc, MBA

Marine Consultant

promoting safety culture in shipping issues and strategies2
Promoting Safety Culture in Shipping:Issues and Strategies

U.R.P. Sudhakar MSc, MBA

Marine Consultant

presentation overview
Presentation Overview
  • Historical context
  • ISM Code and safety culture
  • A model for understanding the dynamics of safety culture
  • Key issues
  • Likely strategies
  • Conclusion
historical context
Historical Context
  • The term “safety culture” appeared first in a report on the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster
  • Adopted increasingly by industries characterised by:
    • High capital investment
    • High operating risks
    • High public visibility Examples:
    • Fragile public image Nuclear, space, offshore & shipping
    • Cutting-edge technologies
factors leading to an accident the swiss cheese model

Top

Management

Latent Unsafe Conditions

Line

Management

Latent Unsafe Conditions

Latent Unsafe Conditions

Pre-

Conditions

Operational

Activities

Active Failures

Safety

Features

Active Failures

and

Latent Unsafe Conditions

Accident & Injury

Factors leading to an Accident: The“Swiss Cheese” Model

ACCIDENT

[Based on: Reason, J. (1997)]

the accident pyramid

Accident

1

Incidents

600

Near-misses

10,000

The Accident Pyramid

[Source: USCG]

risk safety and culture
Risk, Safety and Culture
  • Risk = Probability of occurrence of an undesired event x Consequences
  • Safety:
    • Measures and practices undertaken to prevent and minimise the risk of loss of life, injury and damage to property and environment
  • Culture:
    • Way of life; the customs, beliefs and attitudes that people in a particular group or organisation share
  • Safety Culture:
    • Is a subset of the organisational culture
    • organisational culture is ‘the product of multiple interactions between people (Psychological), jobs (Behavioural) and the organisation (Situational)
a model for understanding safety culture
A Model for Understanding Safety Culture

[Source: Bandura (1986), Cooper (2000)]

key issues
Key Issues
  • What is safety culture and how does it manifest?
  • What are the factors that influence safety culture?
  • How to measure or benchmark safety culture?
  • How can we achieve “global minimum standards of safety culture”?
  • What has been the impact of the ISM Code?
shipboard safety culture
Shipboard Safety Culture

Shipboard safety manifests in terms of:

  • Ability to appreciate the risks associated with routine actions
  • Preparedness to deal with emergency situations
  • Clearly communicated safe practices and procedures
  • Reporting and reviewing mechanism
  • Perceptions about top management’s commitment to safety
  • Confidence in self and others to respond to emergencies
ism code safety culture
ISM Code & Safety Culture

The ISM Code –

  • Established for the first time, an accountability link between ship and shore in all matters of safety management
  • Recognises that no two shipping companies are alike
  • Encourages adherence to safe practices as an inherent and felt need rather than complying with rules
  • Insists upon reviews and continual assessment of operational risks
  • Acknowledges the need for in-service and shore based- training in safety aspects
ism code the experience so far
ISM Code: The experience so far

Some of the negative factors identified:

  • Too much paper work and voluminous manuals
  • Irrelevant procedures and bought-off-the-shelf systems
  • No feeling of involvement in the system
  • Ticking boxes (in checklists) without carrying out the tasks
  • Not enough people or time to undertake the extra work
  • Lack of support from the Company

[Source: Dr. Phil Anderson’s doctoral thesis: ‘Managing Safety at Sea’, Nov. 2002]

ism code the experience so far15
ISM Code: The experience so far

Features common to Companies operating successful SMS:

  • Leadership and commitment from the very top
  • A sense of ownership & empowerment among personnel
  • Continuity of employment
  • Respectful, two-way communication between ship & shore

[Source: Dr. Phil Anderson’s doctoral thesis: ‘Managing Safety at Sea’, Nov. 2002]

minimum manning or strategic hrd
“Minimum Manning” or Strategic HRD?

ATTRIBUTE‘MINIMUM MANNING’STRATEGIC HRD

HRD Policy Not defined In line with:

· - Future growth/diversification plans

· - Anticipated techno/regulatory changes

Complement Based on rules Minimum safe manning plus:

· - Onboard trainees to meet future needs

- Operational profile

· - Ships’ age and maintenance work load

Selection basisCoC & on-job needs CoC, on-job needs plus:

· - Educational level

- Ability to absorb new technologies

· - Amenability to adopt a safety culture

Recruitment At the lowest possible cost Reputed and vetted MET institutions (“white list”)

minimum manning or strategic hrd17
“Minimum Manning” or Strategic HRD?

ATTRIBUTE‘MINIMUM MANNING’STRATEGIC HRD

Pre-sea training Negligible involvement Active involvement

In-service training Negligible involvement Active involvement

Career path Not well defined Clearly formulated & implemented

Org. culture Driven by: Shaped by:

- insecurity - confidence - mistrust and uncertainty - transparency

- commitment to HRD

- career growth & - team work

RetentionLow High

a road map to safety culture
A Road Map to Safety Culture?
  • Uninformed Culture
  • Symptoms
  • Gaps in knowledge, & skills needed for safe operations
  • Poor emergency preparedness
  • Lack of training
  • Absence of exercises
  • Evasion Culture
  • Symptoms
  • Perfunctory approach
  • Focus on paperwork
  • Appearances are most important
  • Inadequate training
  • Poor emergency response
  • Compliance Culture
  • Symptoms
  • Focus on compliance
  • Conversant with rules
  • Flawless records
  • Safe practices a routine
  • Extensive checklists
  • Inability to deal with unforeseen emergencies
  • Safety Culture
  • Symptoms
  • Safety awareness visible throughout
  • Collective approach
  • Proactive risk identification
  • High degrees of preparedness
  • Cohesive team
  • Culturally driven beliefs
  • Fatalism
  • Safety measures increase accident risk
  • No matter what you do, accidents will still occur 
  • Behaviour pattern
  • Clarity of objectives
  • Positive group dynamics
  • Professionalism
  • Sure of support
  • Confident in emergencies
  • Behaviour pattern
  • Discipline
  • Obedience to rules
  • Clear role definition
  • Pride in doing things right
  • Group commitment
  • Clean record matters most
  • Culturally driven beliefs
  • ‘Excessive’ safety is “bookish”
  • ‘Smart’ operations involve cutting corners
  • The chief objective is not to get into trouble with authorities
two approaches
Two Approaches

1. Top-down approach

  • Safety culture as a sub-set of organisational culture
  • Observation: Safety culture is market driven

2. Bottom-up approach

  • Safety culture as learned behaviour
  • Observation - MET institutions in developing countries (main suppliers of seafarers) are hampered by:
    • financial constraints
    • poor infrastructure
    • non-availability of qualified faculty and research capabilities
convergence model

SAFETY TRAINING REQUIREMENTS

FEEDBACK ON SAFETY PERFORMANCE, TRAINING RECORDS

SUPPORTING MET

EEDBACK FROM SHIP

GUIDELINES, INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIAL, TESTS

HEAD OFFICE

INTERACTION BETWEEN SHIP, SHORE & MET

SAFETY TRAINING POLICY, SMS, GUIDELINES TO MASTER & C/E

HRD MANAGER

ONBOARD

DRILLS

Convergence Model

REPORTING OF ACCIDENTS,

INCIDENTS & NEAR-MISSES

proposed strategy
Proposed Strategy
  • Combine top-down and bottom-up approaches
  • Shipowners and MET institutions to interact closely in matters of pre-sea and in-service training
  • HRD policies and practices to come under the scrutiny of ISM audits
  • Benchmark safety culture in terms of risk (probability x consequences) using exercises and simulations
  • Link HRD practices and onboard safety with risk management
linking safety culture with risk management

Contextual data

(Ship & Company specific)

Persons

(Seafarers onboard)

Initial appraisal of prevailing Safety Culture

Simulated Tasks & Emergencies

(Group exercise)

Organisation

(Shipping Company)

Job

(Safety behaviour & group response)

Quantitative Risk Assessment

(In terms of Event Trees & Probabilities x Consequences)

Qualitative Appraisal of Safety Culture

(In terms of the three elements – Organisation, Persons and Job)

Intervention strategies

Linking Safety Culture with Risk Management
summary conclusion
Summary & Conclusion
  • Bandura’s triangular model (Person, Organisation and Job) offers a dynamic perspective of safety culture.
  • Top-down strategic HRD measures interfacing with a bottom-up approach in close association with MET institutions will help in fostering of safety culture.
  • Since top-down approach is the primary intervention strategy, the HRD practices come under scrutiny.
  • Integration of HRD practices and risk management tools can lead to effective promotion of safety culture in shipping.
safety culture a top down mindset
Safety Culture: A Top-down Mindset

“ If the management is clearly seen to be giving safety the highest priority then that mindset will quickly permeate into the chain of command, from the Board Chairman through the directors, the superintendents, to the ships’ officers and crews.”

  • William O’Neil, Former Secretary General, IMO

(Sep. 2002)