Safety professionals preach buy-in from the top to make the program work and we don't dispute that at all. But it is important to remember that top management is responsible for the bottom line and in order to get their buy-in you have to engage them. Here are a couple of ways for senior management to show that they are behind the safety program:

The CEO can do three action items a month to improve the connection between management and the vessel and shore-side crews.

  • Write a note to an employee about safety - A short note stating how the employee has contributed to the safety program.
  • Meet with a small group of employees and share safety-related stories
  • Spend a few hours on a boat to see how the crew works, listen to their issues and share safety information and personal lessons learned.

Safety Champion

Create a safety champion on each vessel. Let this person drive safety program initiatives from the deck up. The employees are better able to identify with one of their own than management. Support the Safety Champion. Give him (or her) all the resources necessary to promote the program and provide you with real-time feedback from your vessels.

Strive for operational excellence and make safety part of it. You can realize a competitive advantage in

  • human performance
  • workers compensation
  • medical costs
  • employee engagement
  • worker turnover

Some Other Ideas and Thoughts on Safety

  • Use 2 safety meetings a year as appreciation days. Provide food and positive feedback. Recognize achievements.
  • Add system failures to training and discuss how to work around them safely. Simulate them whenever possible. We all learn better by doing than by listening.
  • At the beginning of hazardous tasks we are on our toes. We plan. We act cautiously. Yet once we reach the peak we think that the major hurdles are behind us and we can let our guard down. Take extra precautions at the end of tasks too. This is the time that incidents happen.