Page 56: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (May 2022)

Green Ship Technologies

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The Final Word

Maritime Safety:

A New Approach is Needed

By Dr. Torkel Soma, Chief Scientific Officer, SAYFR or years, the shipping in- are engaged by classi? cation societies, through, for example, training courses. dustry has focused on regu- ? ag and port state authorities, vetting Changing the culture is key and that lations and procedures to and insurance companies and HSEQ de- process takes time. To help operators

F improve safety. Yet shipping partments. They verify that ships do the improve their approach to safety, proven is still at risk of major accidents. The right thing and comply with technical methodologies must be used.

whole industry needs to change its fo- and procedural requirements. However, cus. Ticking boxes never made anyone ticking boxes never made anyone safer. Safety leadership behaviors safer. Also, assessing culture using valid Put simply, it involves observing and and reliable survey instruments can help Cover-up culture identifying working methods on board to improve safety – Dr Torkel Soma, Also, and worryingly, there is a cov- and then working with all the of? cers

Chief Scienti? c Of? cer at SAYFR. er-up culture causing errors and unsafe and crew in teams and as individuals to

It has been well documented that most practices. There are now so many proce- deliver the eight-point safety leadership maritime accidents (~80%) are caused dures and checklists that, in some cases, behaviors, namely: by human error. Still, most of the focus it is impossible to comply with all of • Giving feedback on learning is rooted in technical causes them. The fear of failure is driving ac- • Speaking up and adding procedures and checklists. cident statistics, and surveys reveal that • Building trust

Despite this bias, many accident in- 45% of seafarers admit that they regu- • Creating openness vestigation reports pinpoint that the larly do not comply with procedures. • Showing care leadership or safety culture was the root I ? rmly believe that human factors • Facilitate learning cause of more recent accidents such as are key to prevent threats and failures • Promoting teamwork the Bulk Jupiter, El Faro, Helge Ingstad from escalating. Yet improving safety • Managing dilemmas and Costa Concordia, as well as older or performance is about improving not Experience shows that the focus on accidents such as the Exxon Valdez, only individuals but also the collabo- the eight behaviors work because they

Bow Mariner, Herald of Free Enterprise ration between sea and shore staff, be- address the blind spot. By encouraging and Amoco Cadiz. tween of? cers and crew and between the participants to openly share errors, different nationalities and cultures on failures and concerns, they are able to

Industry blind spot board ships. break the chain of events that can lead

The critical failures leading to the up to a major accident. Also, this ap- accident were in most cases known Huge potential to reduce accidents proach helps to move beyond the culture before the accident took place. This Although this is recognized, it is not of punishment to the positive safety- demonstrates that failures which are always addressed, so I believe a new ap- enhancing culture where crew members not handled properly may develop into proach is necessary to improve collabo- help each other. critical situations and accidents. This is ration and reduce risks. Indeed, collabo- a blind spot because the biased focus on ration is strongly correlated with the risk Culture Assessments technicalities and “impeccable” safety of accidents and business interruption. In order to understand how the organi- inspections makes people reluctant to Our experience of working on multiple zation culture in? uences safety, there is be open about their failures, concerns projects over the years shows that it is a need to use methodologies specialized and mistakes. We at SAYFR think ship- possible to reduce the risk of major ac- for this purpose. One thing that many ping companies, and the whole industry, cidents by up to 75%. However, there people are ignorant of is that a key pro- needs to change its focus. Thousands of is no quick ? x to improve collaboration fessional competence of organizational auditors and inspectors across the world and implement behavioural changes psychology is advanced mathematics 56 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • May 2022

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Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.