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Safety Corner – June/July 2021

Welcome to the IMCA Safety Corner.

In some countries there has been an easing of lockdown conditions, as the effects of vaccination programmes are felt. In other countries we have seen further catastrophic waves of the disease.  As well as the many lives lost, COVID-19 continues to have a huge impact on the world economy. It is also possible that it could have an impact on safety.  Some of our members have noted – anecdotally and informally – a subtle change in incident reporting.  This is not reflected in the IMCA safety statistics.  The data reported by members support no conclusions about this, and there are no such trends observable in the reported safety incidents used to make Safety Flashes. But it is a topic of deep interest – the HSSE Core Committee will be thinking about it.

IMCA Contact

Nicholas Hough
Technical Adviser – HSSE and Offshore Survey

In recent months we have heard about the tragic loss of life in the cable car incident in Italy. Anything relating to winches, wires and cables will of course be of interest to many of our members. Whilst it is too early for there to be any published findings from that sad incident, IMCA understands that the investigation is focusing on the possibility that emergency safety systems may have been overridden. This is a core “human factors” issue that does come up again and again. Most often it is seen in IMCA Safety Flash incidents as alarms being switched off because they are “annoying”…

The HSSE Core Committee is considering important topics for a webinar, or for possible workshops and presentation broadcasts and podcasts on social media. We have long-listed ten or so topical issues of the day that will raise the prospect of an interesting discussion, and we’ve asked committee members what they think is most important.  Early results suggest that the topic of greatest current interest is that of the mental and emotional health and safety of our people – their resilience.  This is appropriate and timely, as we in the secretariat have been in discussion with professionals at Jumbo Offshore, regarding their IMCA Safety Award-winning “Mind-saving Rules”. You can read more about the IMCA Safety and Environmental Sustainability awards below. We hope to bring you more about this exciting venture in a future episode of Making Waves.

Another topic of interest is ensuring that there is good engagement and synergy between the renewables sector and the oil & gas sector – ensuring that the wheel is not recreated, ensuring that lessons long-since learned are appropriately passed on.

We’ll continue to look closely at trends emerging from Safety Flashes and reported statistics.  This is “business as usual” – it is what we do. One trend that is immediately identifiable and very much on our members’ radar, is that of hand and finger injuries. As with confined space entry, there are still lessons for our crews to learn regarding not putting their hands and fingers in harm’s way – staying out of the line of fire. Sometimes the blunt and coarse message is the one that gets through: when I worked offshore, the informal advice was “always cut towards your friend”.  On a connected note, we can’t neglect fatigue: I recall many years ago in the late 1990’s being a small boat ambulance driver to rescue someone from another small boat.  That person had slipped and badly cut their arm with a knife. A causal factor in that incident was fatigue.

IMCA has a number of older, filmed videos, some of which date back more than ten years to the days of actual DVDs. Our “working at height” video was published in 2003, and the video entitled “Slips trips and finger nips” is from 2005.  A great deal has changed since then; the world of safety has moved on. We are looking closely at how we can refresh those older video publications and ensure that they are up to date.  We’re in discussions with third-party video providers and internally, will be preparing a project plan for revision of these older videos. Personally I look forward to seeing what can be done – the state of the art in video animation is far in advance of what it was even five years ago, so I’m excited for the possibilities in this area.

We’ve also recently published the second IMCA Security bulletin of the year. This is worth a read just to keep up to speed on some of the maritime security concerns faced by our members in different parts of the world. The Security Committee is a subcommittee of the HSSE Core Committee.  It meets quarterly and consists of security and safety professionals from a range of IMCA members, as well as representatives from other industry organisations.  Its work is to raise awareness of security issues that can potentially harm member companies.  

Finally, In Making Waves, on social media and elsewhere, I’ll be bringing you encouragement to send in your safety incidents and events to form the basis for more Safety Flashes. Starting with a summary of the year so far, I’ll be explaining what Safety Flashes are, their value to all of us in raising awareness, and how you as members can contribute to making industry safer, by taking part.

Nick Hough

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