Tag: safety

As American parents, my wife and I went through the usual terrors of teaching the offspring to drive.

 

Once we were reasonably sure our youngest could drive on her own, she asked us if we would pay for her Street Survival class. We had never heard of this program, and this is a shame, because it turned out it is one of the greatest training programs I have ever seen.

 

Street Survival was the brain child of sports car enthusiast in the US who realized that, because young drivers never had driven their car at the performance edge, they were bound to fail if they found themselves at a performance edge emergency.  (Think of a young driver flipping the car while trying to avoid a deer crossing the road.)

 

With support of a number of automotive supply companies, these sports car enthusiasts developed a one day program that they run themselves. For very little money ($95), young drivers will be exposed to an effective and fun learing experience that can truly save their lives, but, besides that, the program also provides useful training ideas for other training programs, including maritime.

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Capt. Terry Ogg published a thoughtful article on safety culture and training on LinkedIn. The title is “Why it's time to deep-six our current safety culture,” but within the article he provides an even better meme: The Whac-a-Mole Safety Game.

 

The meme explains the tendency to simply hit at every possible human error that occurs and to paper it over with new procedures. Capt. Ogg, instead, advocates the cognitive approach. He is speaking about training highly functioning humans who have a desire to stay alive and can figure out how to do that regardless of the situation they find themselves in. To me that is the classic definition of a mariner: A human who goes away on ships and through training, experience and intelligence manages to deal with the natural unpredictability and complexity of the seas and make it back in one piece, and does this time and time again.

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Rik van Hemmen's picture
Friday, December 29th, 2017

Baby It's Cold Out There

Maybe I am getting old, or maybe I am getting less stupid.

 

But looking out of the aft cabin hatch for a quick run from Slaughter Beach to a ship at Big Stone Anchorage, I did worry a little about the ice building up on deck.

 

I started thinking, "Am I nuts? Are we all nuts for doing this?"

 

Ice building on deck, freezing water, a down wind trip so the waves will be bigger at the ship, and the return trip is in the dark.

 

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Ships, cars and airplanes are all quite reliable, but since they move and ocassionally behave in unexpected ways, it is necessary to provide emergency systems to protect passengers or crew, or allow passengers and crew to escape.

 

There are many such systems like seatbelts, air bags, escape slides, life rafts and life boats. The design and operation of such systems is always complex and often includes complex trade offs and, due to the inherent safety of boats and airplanes, only allows limited actual testing. Some systems are incredibly cost effective (seatbelts) others are effective, but carry high additional costs and can be questioned with regard to cost and safety effectiveness (such as air bags).

 

Marine evacuation systems (MES), and particularly marine evacuation chutes belong in that latter category and this blog raises some issues we have encountered.

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Cold weather actually makes us busier. Cold weather makes people seek shelter so they pay less attention and cold weather makes equipment operate and fail in unusual fashion.

 

It has been cold out (we almost had iceboat conditions on the river) so there is no time to ruminate any further.

 

Instead I will post a few of Henk van Hemmen's drawings that I discovered in a sketch book a few weeks ago. They are dated 1987, and I think that was the year my parents took a cruise to Indonesia, hence the tropical themes. I suspect my father drew the type of ships he wished he had sailed on and used the available backgrounds. Or maybe he dreamed it all up on a cold day in New Jersey.

 

Ah, tropical latitudes; copra, hemp, spices, long port calls, warm breezes ........

 

 

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We all like to kid about acronym soup, and it is pretty difficult to keep up with all the new ones. I remember that as a young engineer I was always hesitant to ask in public, because I was afraid that asking the question would prove my ignorance.

 

Somewhere in my career I crossed that bar and now when somebody uses an acronym that I don't know (well, at my age, it generally is an acronym I can't remember), I no longer worry about admitting my ignorance and simply ask what it means. Occasionally I even emerge victoriously without trying when the acronym dropper cannot tell me what it means. 

 

Martin & Ottaway has been deeply involved in a specific acronym progression that has roiled the maritime industry for a while now. It began in the 1990's with QMS, it begat TQM, then it begat ISM, which begat SMS, which begat STCW, which begat ISPS, which begat ECP and dozens of derivative acronym offshoots. And to deal with all of it, the industry developed the corporate HQSE department and Martin & Ottaway functions as an HQSE consultant. HQSE stands for Health, Quality, Safety and Environmental. At first glance, this acronym is reasonably inclusive of the systems that a well run shipping company needs to have in place to satisfy the demands that are not directly related to the company's income producing model. We like to call them "for the public" systems, because they allow a company to function as a responsible world citizen (and more importantly, based on our experience, they actually add to the corporate bottom line). 

 

But the acronym is not complete and misses a number of important concepts.

 

I was struggling with this when writing a paper about recent HQSE system issues that I will be presenting at the SNAME annual meeting on October 26. That paper shows that training systems need to be an integral component of HQSE systems. This led me to wonder about how to introduce the "T" for training into HQSE.

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December 15, 2011, in Rochester, New York to inspect a pier on behalf of the Department of Justice with regard to a fatal boater's crash on a dark night in 2008 on Lake Ontario.

 

It was surprisingly warm for this time of year, but the USCG Boatswain in charge of the 47 foot MLB and his crew performed a risk assessment and decided we should wear the mustang suits for the night time trip.

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