My presentation will focus on the key elements of the occupational health and safety aspects of a management system. At the same time, I will try to show how a well-structured system contributes to improving safety not only within a company or an organization but also within the marine environment that the company works in.

Regarding safety, commitment should begin from top. Management commitment and support of the OH&S aspects are the basic factors to ensure that a safety spirit is present and taken seriously by everyone in the company. All IACS classification societies have signed a joint statement for the safety of surveyor which actually states that surveyors have the authority to stop a task when an unsafe condition is noticed. What is important is that this message is referred as an obligation to all employees.

There are several advantages that companies can benefit from an integrated HSQE management system. First of all, there is a combined HSQE policy; everyone is working towards the same direction. Environmental issues are dealt along with health and safety issues in terms of risk management or hazard identification and there is no an overlap. Most importantly, the interactive evaluation of all these components results in the simultaneous improvement of a company’s quality standards.

An HSQE policy should be in accordance with the company policy with targets for improving quality standards and commitment for future improvement related to HSQE aspects. A company may collect data for measuring its performance by using the following sources: Health & Safety incident management; Root cause investigations; Ad-hoc analysis; Annual management review; Leading and lagging indicators.

There is a direct linkage between OH&S and business performance. A strong OH&S culture aligns with company’s mission. It can assist the company by providing improved safety services and reduce occupational accidents. As accidents decrease, compensation claims decrease as well.

There is no OH&S management system that remains the same and be productive at the same times. Policies, guides and procedures are changing, hazards appear, and there is a need to include lessons learned from safety moments, case studies and safety committees.

It is everyone’s responsibility to develop a safety culture and assess the safety condition every time before undertaking a task. This is commonly known as ‘Job Safety Assessment’. Beside the need for performing job safety assessment when there is a complicated or dangerous task, everyone should develop a safety culture in order to perform a quick assessment on a regular basis or even on a daily basis for simply tasks. 

Quick Job Safety Assessment

• LOOK: take a moment to look around the area for safety threats

• THINK: think about the steps or actions involved in the task and whether they can be safely executed

• RECOGNIZE: recognize the hazards involved in the task so you can address them

• CONTROL: take the necessary actions to mitigate the hazards involved in the task

• BEGIN: once you have accounted for the identified hazards, begin work

By using this method, a company may identify critical safety behaviors. For ABS, the following critical safety behaviors have been identified:

1. Eyes on Task - Staging / STS Transfers / CS Entry / Pinch Points / Using cell phones / Other distractions

2. Line of Fire - Load Tests / Energies (Pressure, Electrical, Radiation, Temperature, Chemical) / Driving

3. Three-Point Contact - Do not rush / STS Transfers / Staging

4. Eyes on Path - Do not rush / Housekeeping / Using cell phones / Other distractions

5. Continuous Awareness - Complacency / PPE correct selection, maintenance-setting-calibration and use

6. Communication - Pass the messages / Hazards identification / Sharing experience / Feedbacks

Above text is an edited article of Spyridon Kostopoulos presentation during the 2016 SAFETY4SEA Conference & Awards

You may view his video presentation by clicking here


Spyridon Kostopoulos, Surveyor, Europe Division, ABS 

kostopoulosSpyridon Kostopoulos joined ABS in 2011.  He is currently based in Athens as a surveyor actively involved in vessel surveys in Greece and the wider Eastern Region. During his career in ABS, he has worked as an offshore surveyor for the new construction of drillships at Samsung Heavy Industries.  He has also served as Divisional Head of Safety for Europe and Africa, involved in internal and external Health & Safety audits, investigating surveyors’ safety incidents and near miss reports, assigning preventative action plans and performing Root Cause Analysis.  This role also included working with the Division survey department on the preparation of survey instructions. Spyridon holds a BSc. in Marine Science & Technology with Honours in Marine Engineering and an MSc. With Honours in Naval Architecture from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK .