794 - 11/11 - Safety Management System and Safety Culture - Worldwide

In a recent case brought to the Club’s attention a crewman sustained injury whilst carrying out a routine operation working aloft. The case highlights the fact that an adequate Safety Management System (SMS) alone is not enough to combat this type of avoidable injury and that the adoption and encouragement of a safety culture on board a vessel is key to avoiding injuries and claims.


The vessel had a comprehensive Safety Management System which detailed correct procedures to be followed. The SMS included a general Risk Assessment for working aloft and indicated the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be worn. Despite all this the accident still occurred.

This particular operation involved working aloft in an area of the vessel not normally associated with such an operation and therefore, required some lateral thinking. A safety culture approach would have been to consider the operation in context and assess the risks involved pertaining to this particular operation. It would have been at this stage that the inadequacies of the general procedure would have been highlighted. Additional precautions could then have been introduced to neutralise potential hazards and the accident may have been averted. 

Source of Information: 
Loss Prevention
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