The process of documented management plans for standing orders, bridge, engine room, restricted visibility has long been implemented by sound Masters. The International Regulations for Preventing Collision at Sea in Rule 2 stipulate that the safety of the vessel is the responsibility of the owner, master, or crew, but an overall management plan that includes all parties (including the statutory authority) needs the pro-active and coordinated approach, like the OH&S used on land.
The hell of the “Piper Alpha” Oil North Sea oil rig fire and the equally devastating “Marchioness”, ferry mown down in London’s Thames River, its birthday party guests washed into the rescuing crafts’ propellers, were wake up calls that accidents waiting to happen keep happening. In 2002 the IMO published the International Safety Management Code (ISM) to address this problem.
The pro-active coordination required is called a Safety Management System and a designated person or persons are made responsible for the maintenance of its documentation, the SMS Manual. The SMS manual includes:
- information necessary for a safe workplace,
- risk analysed plans for operational,
- contingency plans for emergencies,
It should be available at work stations and be audited and updated in a systematic way.
The risk analysis process
The process of ensuring that occupational health and safety hazards are identified, recorded, investigated, analyzed, corrected (eliminated or controlled) and verified can be summarised by the four steps:
Identification of all potential hazards. What could happen.
Assessment of the risk of each hazard. How likely is it to happen.
Elimination or a control plan. How to stop it happening.
Monitor & re-evaluation. To improve/update the plan.
Staff training, inclusion in safety planning and the valuing of safe attitudes are encouraged in order to develop safe procedures. In this context, examining “case studies” (such as the Piper Alpha and Marchioness) and relating them to your own operations are a key concept of ISM 2002.
Risk assessment may be informal (intuitively reached) or formal (by audit) and needs to consider the following factors:
Risk Level = Consequence X Exposure X Probability
(outcome severity) (frequency/duration) (likelihood)
The level of risk from a hazard will determine the scale and priorities of control measures required. Low risk activities may be suitable addressed over a period of some weeks, whereas high risk activities will require ceasing operations until the deficiency is rectified.
Monitoring and re-evaluation:
This is coordinated by the designated person/s with the responsibility for monitoring the safe operation of the vessel. Sources for their audit include:
- incident, accident and other ships safety reportage documentation.
- the vessel’s operational & emergency checklists.
- staff in-service training.
- staff qualifications and certification validity.
- vessel’s record books.
- record of drills and musters.
- The audit of an independent surveyor.
Training & staff development:
The cooperation of the staff is essential in implementing of an effective control plan. While the necessity to monitor and document places a burden on staff, the encouragement of safe attitudes is the foundation of safe practice.
See more about Safety Management of emergency procedures.