9 Golden Safety Rules: The scope

The logic follows example from already-established fundamental high-level rules to prevent loss of life across different industries e.g. International association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP), several Oil Majors and Lloyd's Register. For example, records from Shell demonstrate a reduction in fatalities of 75% and serious injuries by nearly 50% over a 5-year period. All sectors of the maritime industry could benefit from similar guidance.

In this regard, nine rules were announced on the sidelines of this year’s Global Maritime Forum, providing best practices on the following key topics:

  1. Enclosed Space Entry
  2. Fall prevention
  3. Invisible hazards
  4. Working over water/ access to vessels
  5. Line of fire
  6. Navigation
  7. Lifeboats
  8. Hotwork
  9. Stop work

The rules are created around the following standard: A topic, a headline and several Do’s and Don’ts.

Safety is a key area of concern for shipping which is struggling to keep casualties in low rates. This year’s Global Maritime Issues Monitor revealed that the issue of major safety incidents is becoming more prominent on the agenda compared to 2018, despite improvements, and stakeholders feel they can still do more.

In this context, major leaders across the maritime launched the Together in Safety initiative in 2018 aspiring to create a zero-incident industry.


The ‘Together in Safety’ initiative

Launched on the sidelines of Global maritime Forum’s Annual Summit in Hong Kong last year, the initiative incorporates the vision of major maritime leaders to create a zero-incident industry, based on basic principles such as sharing lessons across the whole sector and collectively setting goals in a bid to lead a significant reduction in industry accidents.

Participants in ‘Together in Safety’ seek the full backing and support from their associated senior leadership and should be fully committed to participate actively in the work and engage with all relevant stakeholders.


Together in Safety revolves three key elements:

  • Leadership: Your actions count more than you think
  • Responsibility: We can’t leave this to anybody else, because there is nobody else.
  • Collaboration: Together we can do so much, alone we can do so little.

Guiding Principles

“Together in Safety” is working within the following guiding principles to remain aligned and focused:

  • Committed to a free exchange of safety information, without fear of commercial advantage or negative consequence
  • Learning from each other and other industries
  • Use and promote best practices
  • Adopt a common language and terminology that is clear, easy to understand and articulate
  • Seek to standardize across industry and make best use of digital technology
  • Remaining non-mandatory, non-regulatory and non-penalizing.



Why is safety so important?

In a speech to the delegates of Global Maritime Forum 2019, Dr. Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President, Shipping & Maritime, Shell, cited three reasons why shipping must focus on safety if it is to become a zero-incident industry:

1/ The statistical reason

Dr. Henderson asked the approximately 200 delegates to look each other:

 Look at the number of people in this room. This is the number of people killed in shipping industry every 8 weeks. Multiply this by 6 and you get the number of people killed every year in shipping.

A UK study showed that shipping has from the worst safety performances of any industry in the world.

Someone working in shipping are 5 times more likely to have a fatal accident than working in construction. Taking into consideration suicides, 6% of these fatalities are confirmed suicides and if we take cases which are not quite clear, it could be as much as 15%. This 6-15 times the suicide rate for the UK. We need to change that now.


2/The business reason

If you have a fatal accident it will cost you time. Your company will lose its reputation. You will lose your own personal reputation. You could even lose a job. But let me put it on the other way. If you put safety on the top of your agenda, you show the people who work for you that you really care for them. They will want to work for you and do a great job for you.


3/The real reason

Moving forward from the very compelling statistical and business reasons, Dr. Henderson describes a real incident involving a fatality and its impact on a real-life level:

It was a terrible accident offshore Nigeria and a man was killed in horrific circumstances. I knew that man, his name was Joseph and he was a friend of mine. I went to his funeral. I can see vividly the church. On the front of the church were his three daughters. Their age 8, 6 and 2. They spoke about the father and about how they loved him so much. I often think about these young girls. How their life will be without their father? You see, an accident doesn’t last for a day, a week, a year, but a lifetime and more and time never heals.

Did you know?

Together in Safety comes in the wake of two other safety initiatives by maritime leaders.

  • The first is called “Partners in Safety” and was introduced in 2012 by Shell engaging leaders from 500 top shipping and maritime companies.
  • The second safety programme is called HiLo, standing for ‘High Impact Low Frequency’, a non-profit joint industry initiative, using a predictive mathematical model tool for the first time in shipping industry, to prevent accidents.

We have in this room the leaders of the shipping industry. We have the power to make a difference. Let’s work as one global team. Let’s be together in safety.

- Dr. Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President, Shipping & Maritime, Shell.