Tag Archives: safety management

Boxing and dancing – The challenges of enforcement in global shipping

shipIn recent years, the spread of inspections and other forms of enforcement (audits, surveys, vetting, assurance etc.) has reached a stage of ‘explosion’ in terms of both scope and frequency. There is a real concern that the enforcement regime, i.e. compliance with rules, regulations and industry standards, has fallen victim to its original intentions of managing safety risks. Many seafarers I have interviewed believe that onboard inspections are merely paying lip service to regulatory and commercial obligations … Continue Reading ››

Safety audits differently

auditSafety audits have become central to safety management and governance. However, many organisations have noted that safety audits may have limited usefulness and some problematic consequences. People I’ve spoken with have raised concerns that:
  • audits may not get a ‘true picture’ of what is going on
  • some projects suffer from audit overload
  • audits may damage cultures of trust
  • audits may drive a commitment to creating acceptable images of work, rather than improving the primary process that the audits are supposed to … Continue Reading ››

Rules – Who Needs Them?

d5bd2d6fMy grandfather was a Military Policeman in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. My father was a Royal Marine. I remember as a child seeing a clipping of an old article in a national newspaper with a large photograph of him captioning a story of their deployment in the Middle East. This made me very proud, but it never made me want to join up. My brother thought differently and he went on to … Continue Reading ››

Moths to a Flame

DSCF4945In a land far, far away a very long time ago someone had an idea and tried to do something different with safety.

For my sins I started my career in safety working for the UK government. To be fair this was back in the 70s and 80s when the 1974 Robens inspired Act was starting to be felt and the proposed legislation on major hazard sites would see the end of the prescriptive nature … Continue Reading ››

Resilience and the Pembroke refinery explosion

Chevron_pembroke_refPembroke Refinery is an oil processing facility on the Milford Haven Waterway, in Wales. It was the site of a multiple-fatality explosion in 2011, and the grounding of the Sea Empress in 1996, releasing a major oil spill into Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Prior to both of these events, Pembroke Refinery made national headlines with another explosion and fire, fortunately non-fatal. Early on the morning of 24th July, 1994, there was a dry electrical storm raging above the … Continue Reading ››

Stop start cards

IMG_2658A mechanic once burnt his hand so badly he had to seek hospital care. While at the hospital, two managers from his workplace showed up. They wanted to find out if he had completed a ‘start card’. Fortunately, he had filled one out so all was good. As he retold me the event, it was clear that their request had upset him. The managers had been interested in the paperwork, and not the state of his hand. Or … Continue Reading ››

Paper tigers

file0001384040598I am constantly amused and perturbed by the unintentional irony that many safety professionals surround themselves with when discussing issues of our profession and the paradoxes they create. So much so that I decided to do a little social experiment of my own. Certainly not on the scale of Facebook but interesting none the less. I had the opportunity to interview a number of candidates for senior safety roles and decided that I would base my questions … Continue Reading ››

Good Leaders or Good Followers

file0001711615790Not a day goes past without me being reminded about the traits of good leaders. We are bombarded by photos and quotes of so called good leaders on social media. Human Resource Departments thrive on leadership and aspirational programs. But we all can’t be leaders, there has to be a disproportionate number of good followers. If we didn’t have this discrepancy the corporate, industrial and political world would cave in under the strain of everyone wanting to … Continue Reading ››

What if we got it wrong?

file1851274688166People don’t come to work to be safe. They come to work to work. Or as a project manager once told me: -I probably spend about 50% of my day thinking about behaviours and safety. You probably close to 100% of yours. But what about the guys doing the job? We remind them of safety messages and what we think is important during pre-start meetings and toolbox talks. But then what? Then they’re off, focusing on other things. … Continue Reading ››

Heraith

file0001090917330I am just about to publish a book on safety. Many of my volunteer reviewers around the globe have commented that is very little about me in it and ask why I write the way I do. I will dodge the requests for an in depth analysis of my psyche and answer with one word ‘heraith’ (pronounced ‘here-eye-th’). Heraith is a Welsh word that originally meant a longing for one’s mother country but has come to mean a … Continue Reading ››