Reducing the risk of incidents due to systemic failures booklet published

The guide ‘Reducing the risk of incidents due to systemic failures’ is based on the partnership between Bureau Veritas, TMC Marine and the London P&I Club. It offers guidance on decreasing onboard systemic failures and highlights the challenges in shipping with the aim of preventing injury, loss of life and damage to ships and cargo.

Essentially the booklet focuses on enhanced onboard systems so that they are in line with the requirements of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code’s Safety Management Systems to reduce risk and develop a culture of continual improvement.

The publication provides an insight into systemic failures on board ships in response to a global trend of increases in system deficiencies related to the requirements of the ISM code.

Sometimes systemic failures can result in a vessel’s detention by the port state control due to pollution, injuries and/or fatalities sustained.

According to the booklet, the two main causes of systemic failure are non-compliance with the SMS in place on board the ship, or an ineffective and deficient SMS.

It is hugely important to review the guidance and procedures provided by the SMS to ensure crew and environment safety. In addition, it provides advice in order to prevent any possible failures. Important elements highlighted in the booklet are the management of change as well as work planning meetings and the importance of a Permit to Work system. The SMS should be regarded as a “living” system that needs adjustments according to changes in regulations.

The SMS should incorporate an effective management of change policy to make sure that new or replaced equipment does not bring risks and will only provide benefits. Yet, the changes could bring positive and demonstrable results through proper training.

The booklet looks at work planning meetings, emphasising on routine daily work planning meetings, including the ship’s safety officer.

These meetings may include discussion of and or all of the following:
– Task Risk Assessments;
– Permits to Work;
– Isolation and tagging out requirements;
– The need for safety briefings, ‘toolbox talks’ and correct procedures;
– Ensuring staff are properly trained for the task.

In order for a Permit To Work system to operate efficiently, it should be based on:
– Human factors;
– The skill level of the work force;
– Unconscious and conscious incompetence;
– The objectives and management of the PTW system;
– The types of PTW required;
– The contents of PTWs.

Major Non Conformities during ISM audit carried out on board ships

The graph highlights the most crucial non-conformities found during an ISM audit onboard vessels, published by Bureau Veritas on behalf of Flag Administrations. This data confirms that enhancing the SMS will reduce the probability of ships being detained.

Laurent Leblanc, Marine Operations Vice President, Bureau Veritas, commented that by experience he understands that marine casualties, incidents and risk are rapidly increasing. He says, “How many times have we read an example of an enclosed space incident where one, two or more seafarers have lost their lives? The approaches detailed in this guidance can help prevent accidents and the associated human, environmental and economic damage and losses.”

Simon Burthem, Chief Operating Officer, TMC Marine supported that the efficient management systems are important in order to protect not only the personnel, but the environment as well.

Download the 24 page guidance booklet: Reducing-the-risk-of-incidents-due-to-systemic-failures

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