The ‘Taking the Safety LEAD’ initiative is first and foremost about nurturing a safety mindset among all employees. From its very conception, EXMAR Ship Management looked at industry safety standards and decided it wanted to go beyond.
However, the safety mindset is not imposed from above. It is about creating a working dynamic where all staff are encouraged to consciously engage in safety best practice, because they are convinced it is the right thing to do.
The initiative was launched in 2013, following a comprehensive survey and interviews with seafarers and staff onshore to assess how meaningful improvements could be implemented in the fleet and in the office. In partnership with Green Jakobsen, the initiative is still being rolled out in phases to the entire organization.
The first is a Safety Mindset Training course aimed at ratings and juniors, focused on creating a safety mindset by ensuring that those who completed the course developed a clear, standard understanding of safety best practice and a common vocabulary related to creating a safety mindset.
The second programme, the Safety Leadership Course, is for seniors and key office personnel. It focuses on creating ambassadors for the safety culture, role models who could create a culture of open communication around safety both on-board and in the office.
The training programmes take place in a variety of locations including Manila,
Split, Odessa, Antwerp, Mumbai and Kingston, Jamaica and Taking the Safety LEAD is always on the agenda at yearly staff conferences around the globe.
“What I will remember most about the Manila conference, is that crew and officers must jointly Take the Safety LEAD. Safety has to be always on my mind and this conference helps, for instance, because we discussed how to manage safety while mooring in a standard manner. It was also interesting to gain knowledge about the company, the fleet and the newbuilds. In that respect it was very nice to have so many representatives from the Antwerp office in the Philippines.”
A set of communication tools have been developed, such as a Taking the Safety LEAD Mindset Game, exercises and accompanying handbooks and posters. The game is played at conferences and is going aboard vessels as part of a package incorporating seven short training exercises on the job, which is the best place for putting the Safety LEAD mindset into practice.