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A Positive Safety Culture

23 July 2018
 |  General, Industry

Having a positive safety culture is Wallem’s key focus and part of a continuous effort, rather than a one-off initiative.

Key priorities for operational efficiency
The Safety of our seafarers onboard and ensuring that they return home safely to their families at the end of their time at sea is our key priority. Every single incident is reported, even things such as minor cuts, so that safety initiatives can be continuously reviewed and improved. While we have seen a marked improvement in safety (with a 50% reduction in P&I claims over the past 3 years), we aren’t interested in publishing impressive figures of number of days without incidents. This is because every single minor incident is considered as something which should not happen. In addition to the safety of people, the protection of the environment and our customers’ assets come in close succession. All three of these priorities are key to ensuring operational efficiency.

Our safety performance
We are proud to have an industry-leading safety record but this is not something we take for granted, safety enhancement onboard is a continuous effort and is something which is addressed both in pre-joining training for seafarers, reinforced through on-going refresher training and during our Wallem Fleet Officers Meetings held regularly throughout the year. We have recently launched a new crewing system that enhances our service to both owners and our seafarers, for example allowing them full visibility over their training needs.
Training at our Wallem training centres includes the promotion of awareness on the issue of chronic unease and in helping our seafarers build up a healthy level of this to manage risks effectively. We also recently added a Resilience module to our programme. The training has been tailored with Wallem-specific case studies. It is aimed at arming seafarers (and indeed support teams onshore) with techniques and strategies to help them better cope with life and work pressures.
On the process side we recently digitised our Wallem Safety Management system, simplifying it and focusing on making the functionality as user-friendly as possible. It has been well received by teams onboard who are finding that it is a much more efficient way of complying with procedures and processes.

Key message for enhancing safety culture onboard
Our key message and focus for enhancing safety culture onboard can be summed up in the following three words: Engagement, Empowerment & Wellness. We engage with our seafarers, we empower them to make sure they make the right decisions and we focus on wellness to ensure that they are well taken care of.

Engagement
We believe that engagement is particularly importance especially given that life onboard these days can be more isolated due to an increase in connectivity, i.e. more time spent alone on social media and less time spent on actual social interaction. Engagement initiatives focus on promoting trust and transparency and fostering greater teamwork.

Empowerment

While Wallem is fully committed to ensure the safety of all our seafarers onboard, we also recognise and stress that our seafarers themselves must be take ownership over their own safety and the safety of those around them. This is the only way we can achieve a positive safety culture. One way we are tackling this is through the use of STOP cards. All Wallem seafarers, no matter the rank, are empowered to use Stop Work Authority by the Managing Director to stop any work they deem unsafe. This helps to break down power distance, cultural and hierarchal structures at sea and ultimately contributes to a stronger safety culture.

Wellness
We believe that having a healthy, positive and respectful atmosphere onboard ultimately leads to a safer work environment for all Wallem’s seafarers. Our dignity@sea programme outlines our commitment to the importance of having a respectful and professional workplace environment onboard and in ensuring that the wellbeing of all our seafarers; both male and female, is taken care of was. Our wellness@sea programme covers every aspect of wellness at sea, including stress management, healthy eating, mental health and the importance of quality sleep and exercise. Both programmes were developed along with a clinical psychologist and focus on encouraging a healthy, positive and safe working culture and behaviour.




We are delighted to be nominated for @Safety4Sea’s Dry Bulk Operator Award in recognition of the hard work our seafarers do to manage our dry bulk vessels safely and efficiently.

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