Hazard hunters

By analysing accidents and proactively identifying hazards, WSM is improving safety awareness on-board through simple but effective measures.

Think of dangerous hazards on-board a ship, and one tends to think of heavy machinery, flammable goods or the surrounding ocean. But the reality is that injuries usually take place in far more mundane settings. “Often it’s during the daily routine tasks where accidents happen,” says Mat Spencer, global safety and quality manager.

As part of its aim of zero accidents, Global HSEQ at WSM is continuously tracking and analysing accidents on its vessels, and looking for trends and common causes. When a problematic area has been identified, Global HSEQ can then focus more attention on safety in that area through the Hazard Hunt campaign. Initiated every six months, the campaign includes specific actions for making improvements and practical advice for avoiding further incidents.

The recommended measures are not drastic, but they don’t need to be. “Often it’s a series of small events that lead up to an accident,” says Spencer.  “What we try to do is raise awareness of these small events, and help implement safety barriers between each of these steps. If just one of these barriers works, then you’ve prevented an accident.”

For example, last year the majority of loss time injuries were finger injuries, usually caused while conducting routine maintenance or trapped in moving equipment. Consequently the most recent Hazard Hunt campaign has been focused on improving safety around operations where finger injuries are most common. Instructional DVDs and presentations have been distributed, and crews are encouraged to discuss common accident scenarios and how to prevent them. Suggested measures include being more aware of movement on-board, taking note of potential hazards and putting the necessary safety guards in place.

In addition to analysing accident records, WSM also has a network of contacts across its vessels, whose task it is to identify and report potential hazards. However a key objective of the Hazard Hunt campaign is to create a culture where everyone takes responsibility for safety. “Anyone can report a hazard and we encourage them to do so,” adds Spencer. “The more hazards we identify, the fewer accidents we’re likely to have.”


Christian Høifødt, head of compliance at WSS

Christian Høifødt, head of compliance at WSS

Regulatory changes

Safety regulations and standards can differ globally and are constantly being updated, making compliance a challenge. Christian Høifødt, head of compliance at WSS, explains how they monitors these changes and update services accordingly.

Who is responsible for maritime regulations? 
“Safety regulations have historically been initiated by flag states and classification societies, resulting in different standards globally. Over the last decade the regulations have been harmonised, and the key driver for this development is the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Today, what will normally happen is that the IMO will initiate and propose new regulations in a publicly available circular, and based on comments (typically from flag states and classification societies) adopt new regulations with global impact. Thus, flag states and classification societies will in general implement IMO regulations.”

How does WSS keep track of these changes?
“WSS safety receives the latest information and developments by subscribing to different information tools. In addition to feedback from IMO, changes may also come from individual flag states, classification societies or directly from our supplier.”

How do you then ensure compliance?
“WSS safety constantly monitors these changes and will adapt accordingly. When a new regulation is adopted, we will update our service procedures, including report templates and intervals, and also offer new training to employees.”