Report: Commercial Pressures Put OSV Crews at Risk

Commercial Pressures Put OSV Crews at Risk

Some 50% of crews working on offshore support vessels (OSVs) are willing to compromise safety rather than say ‘no’ to clients or senior management, while nearly 80% believe commercial pressures could influence the safety of their working practices, according to a report commissioned by operations and maintenance management software specialist Helm Operations.

The findings from the report titled ‘The Impact of Crew Engagement and Organizational Culture on Maritime Safety in the Workboats and OSV Sectors’ were released to coincide with this week’s International Maritime Organization Maritime Safety Committee meeting.

The report is the first maritime safety study specific to workboats and OSVs and will be finalized in time for World Maritime Day 2015, on September 26.

The independent report will summarize six months of research by Dr Kate Pike and Emma Broadhurst of Southampton Solent University. It draws on original analysis of Port State Control detention records, feedback from 50 offshore companies, incident case studies, and input from leaders in best practice.

”This is a major contribution to knowledge in the industry, highlighting the link between the human element and safety performance in this distinct sector,” said Ron deBruyne, CEO and Founder of Helm Operations.

”It tests often repeated regulatory assumptions, establishes the realities of workboat and OSV safety, and provides key recommendations aimed at improving maritime safety.”

Despite the inherently risky nature of their work, many workboats are not bound by SOLAS or the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. Both the Paris and the Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) data show that 27% of workboat deficiencies relate to certificates and documentation, the report says.

An online survey drawing on 50 key offshore companies saw 34% of respondents saying their company needed to offer additional operational and technical training.

”We’re concerned that the research also confirms how under-reporting of near misses can undermine an entire safety culture,” said deBruyne.

”This is partly due to the repercussions of reporting. Better safety management procedures, improved safety culture and crew wellbeing mean lower workboat and OSV deficiencies and detentions.”

To support this contention, the report identifies a set of eight safety criteria to help companies establish safety management systems that follow the principles set out in the ISM Code. It offers recommendations on communication; empowerment of employees; feedback systems; mutual trust; problem identification; promotion of safety; responsiveness; and safety awareness.

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