Implementing an Effective Safety Culture – ICS Launches Free Guidance to Shipowners

Jun 11, 2013

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has published new guidance for shipowners on how shipping companies and crews can implement an effective ‘safety culture’.

The new ICS Guidelines, being distributed free of charge throughout the industry, were launched at a reception today, sponsored by ICS, for Governments attending the IMO Symposium on the Future of Ship Safety in London.

ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe, explained: “Our brochure is intended to provide some basic advice to companies on the successful implementation of an effective safety culture. This covers the vital need for all concerned, at sea and ashore, to understand the relationship between unsafe acts and serious incidents that may result with loss of life. In particular our brochure emphasises the need to change behaviour and to avoid negative attitudes and complacency.”

The new ICS brochure explains that there are three essential components to developing a safety culture: commitment from the top, measuring performance, and then modifying behaviour. The brochure also stresses the importance of accident and ‘near miss’ reporting, and the establishment of a ‘just culture’ approach whereby shipping company personnel are encouraged to provide essential safety related information whenever something might have gone wrong, but without fear of punishment.

Peter Hinchliffe added: “Repeated analysis demonstrates that serious accidents in shipping are nearly always due to a failure to follow established procedures. Our goal is to ensure that all company personnel believe in safety, think safety and are committed to safety. Hopefully our new brochure will contribute to this objective.”

The new ICS brochure is available via ICS member national shipowners’ associations, but can also be downloaded free of charge here.

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