Safety at sea applies to all vessels and personnel working in the maritime sector. It is also the highest priority during any dredging operation.
Safety on dredging vessels and during dredging operations embraces a comprehensive approach towards ensuring the safety and health of personnel, the safety of the ships and the quality of the environment. To achieve this, international dredging contractors strive to comply with applicable international and national maritime regulations. Contractors also participate in regular audits conducted by trained company employees, as well as external audits by certifying authorities throughout the world.
Safety standardsSafety standards are applied during every phase of a dredging project, paying close attention to the safety of ships, crews and all other personnel as well as to marine life. Ships, operations and offices must comply with the strictest of international standards regarding Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE). The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), for instance, develops standards according to the principles of voluntary, industry-wide consensus. International Safety Management (ISM) Code also created guidelines. A few examples include: Read more
- ISO 9001:2008 for the execution of quality assurance;
- ISO 14001:2004 for the execution of environmental protection;
- SCC and OHSAS 18001:2007 for the execution of occupational health and safety;
- ISM for the execution of safety at sea and marine-environmental protection;
- ISPS for the execution of security on vessels.
International Maritime Organization (IMO)In 1959 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was established and immediately adopted a new version of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Thereafter the IMO developed and adopted:
- international collision regulations;
- global standards for seafarers (COLREG);
- international conventions and codes relating to search and rescue;
- the facilitation of international maritime traffic and load lines;
- the carriage of dangerous goods and tonnage measurement.
Customised company safety programmesSafety in dredging operations has taken on a new urgency in the last few decades. While government regulations are far-reaching, implementation of safety regulations is dependent on the individual companies. It demands the concerted efforts of dredging contractors to improve their own standards. The reduction of injury and incidents during dredging operations has become a clear priority amongst the major dredging companies. Seeking to prevent industrial accidents and personal tragedies, contractors have developed their own customised safety programmes. Simply abiding by the recognised standard international codes and establishing systems for avoiding unnecessary risk and limiting the number of injuries and incidents is not enough. To make safety a reality, company programmes require a sincere commitment from management and staff. They require a commitment to investments in training and workshops in order to bring complete awareness to both management and the work floor. While safety regulations and legislation are clear, raising awareness and developing a culture of safety amongst personnel demands extra efforts.
Safety cultureThe development of a pro-active ‘safety culture’ must involve each and every employee, from top management to workers, on board ships and on shore. Each and every employee must feel that they are part of a team and that they need to feel responsible for safety and performance and to take actions that demonstrate this. To have a pervasive safety culture means that all personnel must feel they can have direct access to the highest levels of management. Generally speaking, safety policies are divided into four categories:
- health and human resources,
- quality assessment,
- security of vessels.