Maritime operations can benefit from safety culture changes

When a ship operator or other maritime employer makes any change to improve the safety of workers, positive progress has been made. However, reducing a given vessel’s rate of maritime injuries is likely only going to occur in any significant way if the entire vessel’s culture is grounded in the execution of safe practices. Much like a hospital can only significantly improve patient safety through cultural changes, maritime operations can only truly improve worker safety by making reform a core value of the venture.

One company recently adopted this kind of site-wide reform and managed to subsequently cut its employees’ serious injury rate by roughly two-thirds. In addition, lesser injuries requiring some time off have been cut in half. Finally, the employer has benefited not only from healthier and more consistent employees, costs tied to insurance claims have been reduced by more than three-quarters annually.

When safety becomes a core value of any given maritime operation, both workers and employers benefit in substantial ways. The key for any successful operational reform is that the value of safety must practically affect every element of a vessel’s functioning. From communications to engagement, training to everyday operational tasks, safety must be a core focus of how any maritime operation does business.

When these changes are made in earnest, research proves that every meaningful performance indicator will be positively affected by the reform. Making safety a key priority and cultural value of a given operation may take some time and resources to implement. But the rewards of this investment are well worth the upfront costs.


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