The initiative that you don’t want to fully test

‘Safety was like being in love. It is hard to pinpoint what makes it feel right, but you sure as hell know when you are getting it wrong.’

‘It’s an interesting proposition, but one that will only prove itself after something has happened, like an accident.’ That was the view of one member of staff after considering the launching of the Safety Differently initiative. The switching of the traditional way of analyzing of apportioning blame, shifting from the individual being seen as the problem, to focusing on the root cause probably being from somewhere within the system, was the main message of the ‘star’ attraction on Global Safety Day. It is the one initiative that you hope proves itself without being fully tested.

Maersk Training sits in a unique position in relation to safety. It is in a relatively safe work environment, passing the message of safety on to those who are literally at the sharp end of the business whether it be maritime, during drilling operations or wind turbines. But safety doesn’t start or stop at the bottom of a staircase. passing the message of safety on to those who are literally at the sharp end of the business whether it be maritime, during drilling operations or wind turbines. But safety doesn’t start or stop at the bottom of a staircase.

Niels Kristian Haastrup, HSEQ manager based in Svendborg with a brief to also cover Esbjerg and Stavanger, is in a better position than most to understand the need and the way any new approach might affect the way we as individuals, and as a company, react. ‘It’s interesting, what I‘d like to see is a growth in incident reporting. They are very good at it in Esbjerg, compared say with Svendborg, but that is because of a different culture. The nature of the training in Esbjerg is more focused on work aspects where there is an element of danger.’

‘It is about changing our mindset.‘

Niels was positive about the initiative, ‘Actually I quite like it. I think it is a good approach, looking at the system and the learning rather than individuals from time to time with their poor judgements, mistakes mishaps. Not that I think it should be used as an excuse for accepting incidents, but acknowledging that incidents do occur and that you need to get the best out of it.’

A culture beyond work

Senior Technical Instructor Morten Arildsen added, ‘Generally there’s always the need for it to be proven somehow, that they mean what they say. Sadly it will come if there is an incident and fingers are not pointed in search for the root cause. It is easy to agree on a concept at the top, but it has to work its way down many layers to see if it is working.’

The fundamental change, both agreed, was that by removing the blame culture you would probably encourage a more robust reporting culture. ‘It is about changing our mindset. It’s step-by-step if you want to change and it maybe that we will have to remind ourselves of the new aim, to find the root cause rather than blaming the person,’ says Morten.

If you punish and take disciplinary action every time somebody does something, then you will not get the reports and you will not get the learning. It has to have time to prove itself. By proving itself, it will become part of the culture, one that doesn’t get left at the office. ‘Several years ago I didn’t wear a bike helmet, then we got children.

So we said OK and we started wearing them to send the right message. That’s ticked off. Many things are in your backbone, like putting tools out of reach of children,’ says Morten.

Safety – The View From Brazil

The Safety Differently workshop raised both professional and semi-professional concerns in Rio. They cast the gaze on safety over a wide area of subjects, but two topics that came to the fore both involved transport.

Much of the instruction in Rio is done onboard and it was in the process of getting on to the vessel that problems and danger but also offered a potential solution. Boarding after dark greatly increases the chances of a mishap, so it was decided to approach customers and request daylight boarding before 19.00.

A system of checks in advance was


also suggested to ensure that the right equipment was onboard and therefore cut down on unnecessary extra trips. About half of those attending were from the office and they voiced concerns about the unreliability of public transport when traveling to and from work.

No solution was offered but in just airing it, an awareness was established. The different viewpoints of the back office employees and frontline instructors was an eye opener, as safety instructor Arthur Lima said, ‘it was very surprising to see the difference between our daily jobs routines and how others see what we actually do.’

The Global View

It’s one special day in the calendar, but it could have a tremendous impact on any other day of the year. Global Safety Day has become part of the Maersk ethos since it started in 2013 and across the entire group of companies events of relevance marked it.

At Maersk Training in Svendborg special sessions on mental health were accompanied by practical first aid sessions on CPR and how to operate an AED machine. These had a special pertinence because it was the fact that one staff member had this knowledge that a German skier is alive today. It was knowledge learnt on a military first


aid course that took twenty years to be instantly brought to the forefront of Morten Kaiser.

Christian, a Danish Army instructor, took people from across all departments through how to conduct CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The range of participants stretched from an office intern right up to the chief executive. Other sessions included mental/physical training and a one hour introduction into new Maersk focus of ‘Safety Differently’.

*If you want to read about the actions that saved a skier’s life then click here.

So What Would You Do?

To feed the correct culture we’ve prepared some questions that don’t have definitive answers, but open the door to dialogue and the mind to thought, a safety forum. Pick a couple and discuss them with colleagues.

Forum Five

At work the policy is reverse parking and they encourage following safety practices at home. You’ve just come off a long flight and the drive to your destination is 2½ hours. It is raining as you arrive. Do you reverse in or do you drive in straight?

You are out for a walk and you see a neighbour taking the branches off a tree with a chainsaw. He has no personal protective equipment on. Do you mention it to him or do you pass by without comment?


You are the guest at an event for about 40 people in another office. The host goes straight into the presentation. Do you point out there has been no safety briefing and if so, how ?

It is a Friday in early October and your car is still on summer tires. You plan to do the changeover at the weekend, but there has been a severe frost overnight. Your office is 40kms away. Do you just head to work as normal? What action do you take?

You have just bought your ten-yearold a new bike. He wants to show it to his mates but he can’t find his helmet. The friends live just round the corner, what do you say to him?