OCIMF’s Tanker Management and Self Assessment 3 has intensified the existing standards and brought new requirements for the shipping companies to comply with. Likewise resilience is high on the agenda. This article gives examples of how the application of the Safety Delta tool supports compliance to TMSA3 requirements and builds resilience. The key message is that the Safety Delta concept has a holistic effect to many safety processes and performance initiatives within an organisation, which goes far beyond the TMSA3 compliance.

OCIMF’s TMSA edition 3 intensified the existing standards and brought new requirements that propel the tanker companies to consider further how to:

Promote and train crew and office staff in order to improve safety performance,
Ensure an open dialogue between vessel and shore-based personnel,
Encourage hazard identification, improve safety awareness and aim on building strong safety cultures,
Align processes to the holistic approach of management, training and driving behaviour towards safety.
Safety Delta is a long-term tool that supports compliance to TMSA requirements and leads to resilient safety cultures – not another single procedure or one-off campaign

The tool is Safety Delta

Safety Delta was inspired by the letter ‘Δ’ from the Greek alphabet, which in mathematics stands for difference or change. Herein, the difference is found to lie between the perceived and the actual safety culture on board.

The change is initiated by the Safety Delta 3-step process cycle which provides:
(i) a Diagnosis of the present safety performance of a vessel as perceived by the crew,
(ii) supporting tools to enhance the safety Dialogue on board and between ship and shore, and
(iii) a variety of on board learning and Development opportunities and resources.
See more details about the concept on www.safety-delta.com

Involvement of the crew and staff

TMSA3 clearly states in the introduction that “Users will get the most benefit from the TMSA when personnel directly involved in the subject covered by the element complete that part of the assessment”. In this respect, it is important to highlight that Safety Delta involves the crew and staff actively to the self-assessment notion. More specifically, the first stage of the Safety Delta comprises a survey, i.e. the Crew Safety Diagnosis (CSD). The CSD survey is completed by the crew and represents an opportunity for all crew members to voice their perception of the safety conditions on board. The process constitutes the basic data source to continue to the next two stages, i.e. Dialogue and Development.

The involvement of all seafarers in all three stages is the main focus of Safety Delta, as the data collected is given by those doing the jobs and dealing with the safety issues every day. The dialogue and development initiatives agreed in extension of the CSD report also require the involvement of all crew members and thereby support the TMSA3 requirement. Apart from the crew on board, Safety Delta enhances the ship-shore collaboration in a constructive way, creating the framework for assertive communication between sea and shore- staff.

HSSE Excellence through leadership and SMS – all in one

In TMSA3 Element 1, Management, Leadership and Accountability, KPI 1.1.3 states that: “HSSE excellence is fully understood and supported by vessel and shore-based management teams”, while “Senior Management demonstrates a clear commitment to implementing the SMS” (KPI 1.1.2). Thus, TMSA3 highlights the leaders’ role, especially in relation to a well-working and well-communicated Safety Management System (SMS). Management is expected to develop and maintain a dynamic SMS in order to implement policy and deliver HSSE excellence.

In order to go beyond and build a proactive safety culture, the Safety Delta philosophy focuses on people and organisational performance. A well-working SMS is essential, but to continuously improve it is not enough – it is how people apply it. The best application of a good SMS requires people who have to ensure its effectiveness and constitutes the essence of a resilient safety culture. Thus, it is people’s performance that makes the difference, meaning how seafarers and office staff live their own role as safety culture carriers and whether they are able to explain the efforts made on board that contribute to greater resilience. That is often a sore point in many shipping companies.

It is people’s performance that makes the difference, and whether they are able to explain the efforts made on board that contribute to greater resilience

The TMSA3 KPI 1.2.1 stating that: “All company personnel can describe what HSSE excellence means in practice”, goes far beyond SMS functionality and procedure compliance. To show HSSE Excellence, Safety Delta:

Encourages dialogue on board and between ship and shore, and hereby, cultivates a shared perception of HSSE excellence
Addresses crew safety behaviours and articulates a common ‘safety behaviour’ language
Stimulates risk management best practices against present crew’s safety performance on board

So, in alignment to the TMSA3 requirements, while the vessels are carrying out the crew safety surveys in regular intervals, they manage to keep the goal to HSSE excellence alive, and actively build on the process towards safety resilience. Dialogue is essential for the communication of the safety messages, but more importantly for jointly building a common understanding of how to ‘walk the talk’ of safety.

Learning opportunities for all ranks

In Element 3, Recruitment, Management and Wellbeing of Vessel Personnel it is required that: “Procedures are in place to provide company specific additional training for all ranks” (KPI 3.2.2) and “The company monitors and records training results and effectiveness” (KPI 3.2.6).

The best learning effect is achieved through learning while doing the job, especially with regard to the hands-on aspect of the seafaring profession. Seafarers focus on job performance and having relevant job processes offers unique learning opportunities. Placing the training on board is a cost saving way of learning widely used in the shipping industry; however, the Safety Delta’s approach is far more effective from the regular CBT, as it provides materials for reflective learning.

The Safety Delta Diagnosis survey is completed anonymously by the crew, and auto-generates the CSD report which points to areas where improvements or reinforcements are needed. The CSD findings easily initiate vessel-specific training efforts. These are discussed during the Dialogue stage, and the crew agrees on a learning action plan. In that respect, Safety Delta contains an extensive Learning Library with learning modules designed to be performed on location (on board the vessels). Learning is initiated via practical exercises, team activities, games and videos enhancing the active participation of all personnel. Modules are dealing with actual working situations relevant for the participants, where they have the opportunity to analyse their experiences, develop critical thinking and improve on future performance. Safety Delta Learning Library operates with defined topics that ensure the ongoing cultivation of the safety culture and mind set, including a variety of soft skills that meet the TMSA3 requirements.

Learning before the incident happens

TMSA3 Element 8 stresses the importance of Incident Reporting, Investigation and Analysis. Safety reporting is one of the subjects/cultivators included in the Safety Delta Learning Library. Whereas learning from incidents is extremely important, it is not the only way of improving safety: Learning before the incident occurs, is an insight that consolidates the resilient safety organisation. Therefore, sharing knowledge from incident investigation is only part of the process – sharing the good experiences and the successful improvement activities are just as important. In this vein, learning proactively turns the attention to the successful practices that the crew should start doing more of.

Safety Delta is supporting this approach, since the CSD report, the dialogue that follows and the continuous cycle of the safety development process ensure that both good and bad experiences have an influence on the future level of safety culture. It provides all seafarers with an important insight in how to improve safety awareness by being able to analyse situations, even before an incident happens. Through the Safety Delta cycle, seafarers get involved from day 1 and gradually become engaged in the development of a safety culture, as they are part of the process all the time.

Learning before the incident occurs is an insight that consolidates the resilient safety organisation

The ship-shore communication

In another example, the TMSA3 Element 9, Safety Management underlines: “During vessel visits, every opportunity is taken to promote a strong safety culture across the fleet” (KPI 9.1.2). As shipping companies often state, when superintendents (or other shore-based staff) visit vessels, they find it difficult to discuss safety performance in a non-preaching mode. On many occasions, they tend to go through check lists, internal audits, look at preparation and equipment, but no ‘real’ safety dialogue is taking place. The truth is that foundation for such a dialogue does not really exist. With the Safety Delta Crew Safety Diagnosis report in hand, the basis for a qualified dialogue and action plan is in place.

Our Safety Delta users regularly highlight how Safety Delta helps them stimulate ‘real’ safety performance talks and reflections that help the crew learn before incidents.  Further, what happens in the micro-level of a vessel accounts for the entire fleet. Safety Delta users can monitor the safety performance across the entire fleet by reviewing all the vessels’ reports and getting a summative insight via the annual fleet safety survey report.

Feedback from users

Below are a few statements from crew and staff who have engaged with Safety Delta:

A Vessel Manager gives his view on Safety Delta after his first visit to vessels that have run the first two stages of Safety Delta:

“Very often, the crews are told from the office “do it this way”. Now, the crew are the ones taking the lead and my role lies in the follow-up instead. That is the great difference – we are empowering the crew now. Both ratings and other crew members, irrespective of culture, get a chance to speak up.”

The Captain of a vessel having run their first cycle of Safety Delta resumes what was discussed and the initiatives taken after they received the Crew Safety Diagnosis report:

“The diagnosis report was discussed in detail starting from the area where attention was recommended; Risk assessment, having received the lowest score, was the man point of our interest. Risk assessment had been agreed to be made well in time with the active participation of all the crew involved in the job and not only by the Supervising Officer. It was also agreed that crew needs to be trained and aware of the various permits being used every day. This can be done by having the crew discuss during the tool box meeting the permits issued and the contents of the permit”.

A captain acknowledges the importance of Dialogue:

“Right now we have 3 nationalities on board – there is a wall for us, especially with communication. With Safety Delta we have more than one Safety Meeting per month. We can learn more and discuss more, to refresh again and again our safety culture on board”.

A Superintendent emphasizes the ship-shore collaboration towards the common goal of building a strong safety culture through the Safety Delta concept:

“We often talk about this in the office, and we look at the statistics. And then on the side you have the vessel and the performance on board – it is almost a separate world. So the CSD report is a step in linking office and vessel, and in establishing a combined effort. Therefore, the CSD report brings the vessels one step closer to the office”.

The main aim of TMSA3 is to enhance the safety culture by guiding the tanker companies’ efforts towards a continual improvement through regular self-assessment. The emphasis on achieving long-term improvements is met through the Safety Delta concept, which ensures structured monitoring of targets, identifies the needs for follow up and provides all the tools for planning of improvements and executing learning on board. Safety Delta is the tool for multiple purposes in a world of comprehensive demands. As a Safety Delta user pointed out:

It is different from all other safety programmes
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Maria Progoulaki
Maria Progoulaki
Regional Representative, Senior Consultant

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