Creating a culture of safety
Since March 2011, A2SEA has been working on creating a “culture of safety” to align procedures and behaviours both at sea and in the office. Creating a culture of safety requires aligning the company’s knowledge and building a vocabulary of safety that everyone will understand immediately. It has to become, quite simply, “the way we do things around here.”
Thanks to their own experience base and our employee selection process, and strengthened by the culture of safety program, our people have developed a proactive attitude to safety throughout the company, starting with top management and extending throughout the entire organisation.
Our initial program for creating a culture of safety involved four modules. We started the first module, Accident Understanding, in March 2011. The point of this first module was to share a common definition of what an accident actually is. Then we moved on to the second module, Compelling Safety Communications. With this module we needed to find our own words for talking about safety, such as “safety first” which can help us to place safety at the heart of our company.
Module three was Supervision and Intervention. In these sessions, we presented a toolbox that helps supervisors figure out when they need to coach as opposed to inform, and how they can read people in situations that might give rise to a safety issue. And the final module was Safety Awareness on the Vessel – for everyone in the organisation. These two latter modules included practical training, especially Safety Awareness.
Everyone involved already knew the procedures, but the culture of safety program has helped them to adopt a new safety mindset at a higher level. We were also careful to achieve a culture free of blame so that nobody is afraid of reporting something if it looks as though it could cause an incident.
Of course, our safety program never ends. Part of the training and process with top management has been to install routines and a mindset – a platform. And new surveys help to identify focus areas for the next steps.