Fatigue remains a potent enemy

The most recent edition of Maritime FEEDBACK, published by The UK Confidential Reporting Programme for Aviation and Maritime (CHIRP), has been released with a warning about the hazards of fatigue and its potential implications.

Captain John Rose, Director (Maritime) CHIRP, makes the following comments on the subject.

“Every company desires safe operations and whilst written rules, standards and procedures are important and necessary, they are not enough. Companies must develop a culture in which the value of safety is embedded at every level ashore and at sea. This commitment to safety should be a value that shapes decision making all of the time and embedded at every level in the organization, at sea and ashore.

“A company must not only learn from its mistakes and make changes as the result on an injury or damage to an asset, it should also be proactive and encourage near-miss and hazardous occurrence reporting. This should be a key part of the strong safety culture that seafarers work in and are encouraged to adopt by their ship managers. The learning from these reports and the analysis of data helps to create an informed safety culture. An established strong safety culture is a barrier against complacency, omissions and violations that are so often listed in incident reports as causal factors.

“One area that appears to be difficult to address is seafarer’s fatigue management. Malpractice is often seen and yet the reports we receive on this subject do not reflect the size of the problem. Safe manning on a ship should take into account the minimization of fatigue. The Safe Manning Document establishes the minimum safe manning to ensure safe and efficient operations. The number is based on a transparent process based on a risk assessment, the minimum number as stated, is exactly that; therefore at times of high work load due to operational requirements, this number is not sufficient to manage the risks associated with fatigue in seafarers.

“When a seafarer does not get a response from managers, confidential reporting through CHIRP will assist. We review all correspondence received and agree the remedial action plan with the reporter before discussing with any other person or company representative.”

As always the success of the CHIRP program is directly related to the number of reports we receive, says Rose.

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