Feedback from the 2014 IMCA safety and environment seminar

At the IMCA Safety and Environment Seminar in Houston, 20-21 March 2014, a number of round table discussions/workshops were held. Delegates held informal table-based discussions based on a number of questions provided from the front, which were intended to highlight important topical issues and stimulate discussion. Written and spoken feedback was collected by the secretariat. Four workshops are covered here. A fifth workshop was held and the findings from it were used to aid the development of the forthcoming IMCA handbook for offshore safety representatives.

The four workshops covered were:

  • How can IMCA support industry in further improving safety culture;
  • Safety in lifting operations;
  • Best practices for working at height;
  • SEMS.

This information note provides a summary of that written and spoken feedback, including the subjects discussed, some of the main findings, and the main actions proposed.

1 How Can IMCA Support the Industry in Further Improving of Safety Culture?

Henk van Ketel of Heerema Marine Contractors led this discussion, based on his paper on Safety leadership – feedback from the 2013 IMCA Safety & Environment Seminar.

1.1 How Can We Get Senior Management (CEO Level) to Present at and Attend Seminars?

Delegates agreed that there should be a better case made for CEO attendance at IMCA events, and that CEOs should be personally invited to both attend and speak at IMCA events. Some delegates considered that a combined safety/main seminar was a good idea. One suggestion was that CEO attendance could be a requirement for sponsoring companies.

Action: (IMCA Chief Executive): Work towards closer liaison with CEO level personnel.

1.2 How Can We Get People To Assist With IMCA Workgroups Or Committees?

Following delegate suggestions, it was agreed that IMCA would work to improve communication and scheduling of committee meetings, topics discussed, agendas etc.

Action: (IMCA Secretariat): Improve communication and scheduling of committee meetings, topics discussed, and agendas.

1.3 How Can IMCA Work Better on Relationships? What Should the Focus Be? Better Engagement with Regulators?

Delegates’ feedback was that the focus should be on better relationships with regulatory bodies, other trade associations, oil companies, our own members, and flag states.

Action: (IMCA OMC): More and better communication and promotion of what IMCA is and what it can do for members and stakeholders;

Action: (IMCA Members): Better and closer relationships with above-mentioned stakeholders, particularly at senior level.

1.4 How can IMCA Be More Social – Advertise the Industry or the ‘brand’ Better?

Delegates suggested that the IMCA brand and presence could be stronger and more visible in the public domain, in the offshore workplace, and at conferences and trade events. IMCA should consult with members locally as to which events are most useful and productive. Closer contacts and liaison with offshore workers should be sought. Delegates suggested that the use of modern social media is very important in reaching younger people.

Action: (IMCA Secretariat): Raise and discuss IMCA ‘industry presence’ at all regional section meetings;

Action: (IMCA local representatives): Provide appropriate feedback to secretariat on which events are most important and which issues need to be prioritised locally.

1.5 Do We Need More Local Presence In Some Countries Or Regions?

Delegates agreed that more local presence in some countries or regions would be beneficial. There was a perceived need to focus involvement and support in certain countries and make use of local contacts, as IMCA was not widely known in some places. IMCA should work to be more regionally driven rather than UK focused.

Action: (OMC/IMCA Chief Executive): Continue to work towards improving local presence, for example, through local IMCA representative.

2 Safety in Lifting Operations

Des Power of EMAS AMC led this discussion, which followed three papers covering ‘Crane safety in marine operations, a case study: wires under tension’, and ‘Removal and disposal of offshore installations – a contractors’ view’.

2.1 What more could be done to highlight the Importance of Proper Planning and Preparation in Lifting? What Does Your Organisation do to Improve Lifting Safety?

Delegates considered the following four issues important (listed here in order of quantity or magnitude of feedback):

  • Addressing the consistency (across the regions) of competence and training standards for personnel involved in lifting;
  • Lift planning and preparation – making lift plans part of our everyday culture;
  • Nomenclature – should we refer to routine or non-routine, or to simple or complex, or some other words;
  • A robust and consistent system of management and control of equipment and equipment certification.

Action: (IMCA Secretariat): Pass these issues to IMCA CWOW for action.

2.2 Does IMCA’s Documentation on Lifting – DVD, Pocket Cards and Posters, Guidance and Safety Flashes – Cover all that it should? Are There any ‘Gaps’ that Need Addressing?

Delegates’ feedback indicated that broadly speaking, IMCA pocket cards and posters – safety promotional material – on lifting did not cover all that it should, and that review was indicated. Cards and posters in general needed to be more modern and more pictorial, much simpler, with text supporting pictures rather like an aircraft emergency card.

Action: (SEL Core Committee): Start revision of safety promotional material.

3 Safety Exposure: Working At Height

Ed Grosse of Shell led this discussion following his paper on ‘Sharing best practice for working at height’.

3.1 Are Your Own Company Working at Height (W@H) Policies and Procedures Clear and Concise?

Delegate feedback suggested that own company W@H policies and procedures were not clear and concise and needed to be simplified, made more concise, with less writing and more pictures.
3.2 What Lessons Have You Learnt From Your Own Company Experience that Would be of Benefit to Delegates or to IMCA Members?
The key issue highlighted was training. Delegates also felt that more attention was needed on prevention – designing out W@H – and on rescue.

Delegates suggested that there should be better enforcement of compliance to W@H policies and procedures and stressed the importance of worker feedback and input into these policies and procedures.

Delegates suggested there needs to be greater awareness of wear and tear – the inspection and review of equipment. They also noted that decent anchor points at which to tie off were sometimes too rare.

Action: (IMCA SEL Committee): Prepare working at height guidelines.

4 Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS)

Phil Miller of Subsea 7 led this discussion, following a paper on SEMS given by Eric Roan of the Centre for Offshore Safety.

4.1 The US Coast Guard Is Proposing New Regulations for Ships to be Required to Have a SEMS Program. In Light of this, How Will Your Company Comply?

Companies intended to comply through some form of proven and documented gap analysis or bridging document between existing safety management systems and SEMS or between the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and SEMS. Delegates highlighted the importance of demonstrating existing compliance with ISM.

Action: (IMCA SEL/IMCA SEMS Workgroup): Check availability of SEMS-ISM compliance gap analysis matrices.

4.2 How has Your Company Addressed the Need to Ensure Competency is Achieved and Can be Proved to Your Client Base?

Companies had addressed and demonstrated the need to ensure competency through properly established and documented competence and training schemes of one kind or another. This was the strongest feedback of the entire seminar, with nearly thirty individual written points to this effect.

4.3 What do you see is The Largest Obstacle in the Implementation of SEMs?

The single greatest obstacle to implementation of SEMS was seen to be confusion, lack of clarity and lack of consistency in interpretation and application of SEMS.

IMCA members sought consistency in the application of SEMS, and a deeper understanding of it was required. Other obstacles included the cost of SEMS compliance – ‘who pays?’ the need for further gap analysis, and differences between US and non-US flagged vessels.

Action: (IMCA SEMS Workgroup): Continue liaison with US regulatory authorities.

5 Delegate Questions Not Otherwise Addressed

  • What is the intended and actual SEMS audit frequency;
  • Could there be – should there be – fines for non-compliance? A listing of non-compliant contractors;
  • What should be done when an operator wants a contractor to adapt [to] the operators SEMS, but the operators’ safety standards are actually lower than those of the contractor;
  • SEMS II effective from June 2014 – what will that mean for company and contractor? When do we have to be compliant?

Action: (IMCA Secretariat): Pass questions to the IMCA SEMS workgroup for discussion and answer.