Nick Hough, technical adviser – HSSE at IMCA, takes a look at the steps the association takes to ensure that its safety messages are fresh, relevant and topical
If you attended Riviera Maritime Media’s Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference, European Dynamic Positioning Conference and Offshore Wind Journal Conference in London in February, you will have heard my colleagues Mark Ford, Captain Andy Goldsmith and Reza Yaghoobi speaking, all of them covering aspects of safety. Indeed, an IMCA speaker never gets far into a conversation or presentation without touching on the importance of safety. Our CEO, Allen Leatt, likens it to the golden thread running through all our activities.
Our members have a moral imperative to conduct safe operations and acknowledge that human factors are a primary cause of accidents, so the sharing of ‘lessons learned’ is vital. IMCA’s popular and well-respected Safety Flashes, available to all, play an important role in sharing lessons learned and in raising awareness. In 2019 we highlighted 160 incidents through Safety Flashes (over 1,500 incidents since the first Safety Flash in 1997).
Incidents might reach us in the form of a lengthy and detailed report: we condense this into one page with an eye-catching headline; highlighting what happened and why. Most importantly, we share the lessons learned and the actions to be taken to reduce repetition.
IMCA Safety Flashes are easy to read, free of jargon, free of blame, and completely anonymous; they generally include helpful photographs or illustrations. The result is a cohesive ‘safety story’ designed to change attitudes, hearts and minds. We also encourage our member companies to use the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) ‘Life-Saving Rules’ which are simple, direct and carry a very positive message.
Analysis of the causes of incidents has led to the development of targeted safety promotional videos, with our current suite on YouTube (available in 10 languages) surpassing 220,000 views.
Safety material needs to remain fresh and relevant to keep our attention. In January I spoke at Equinor’s contractors’ safety meeting where we heard that dropped objects and finger and hand injuries topped the list of incidents. The discussion then led to how technology could be used to prevent incidents and injuries. One speaker noted that no train driver ever deliberately passes a signal at danger – but once he or she has done so, what stops the train is technology, not the driver. We are still discovering what technology can do for the offshore industry. Could digital technology provide warnings to individual workers? Exploring the role of virtual reality and ‘gamification’ as safety training aids is being considered by IMCA’s Safety Committee.
“You can’t change what you can’t measure.” This is where IMCA’s Annual Safety Statistics play a key role. The 2018 figures showed that members reported on 728M man-hours. This represents some 364,000 people working a nominal 2,000 hours a year (approximately 200,000 worked offshore). Line of fire (44%) and slips and trips (23%) were then the main causes of lost time injuries.
At the start of 2019 our reporting system went live on our website. This digital solution enables members to submit data easily via a secure web-based portal. The easy-to-understand charts and graphs in our collated reports help members benchmark their performance against previous years and with other (but anonymous to them) similar-sized companies. For many companies, providing this information is a requirement when reporting to shareholders, and an important aspect of corporate social responsibility.
To share lessons learned, IMCA members should input their 2019 safety and environmental statistics (closing date 3 April): www.imca-int.com/data/safety/submit/#submit