Thursday, November 17, 2011

Freight and Logistics Must Take Safety Seriously Says Container and Bulk Cargo Giant

H & S is a Social Issue Even Bigger Than Environmental Concerns Says Maersk Boss
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Anyone running a modern day company, particularly those involved in the freight and logistics industry where the marriage of clerical with physical tasks often overlap, has to make safety a priority. Accidents within the supply chain range between extremes from a paper cut to a death, or deaths, whilst working. This month container and bulk shipping giant Maersk inaugurated a safety day for their executives which served to illustrate the typical level of commitment required of today’s employers.

The event hosted the company’s top management and heads of safety at the first ever ‘Maersk Executive Safety Day’ and the message which emerged was clear for all, "Safety makes us special, we discuss safety whenever we meet. While working here, you enter the tradition of taking care of one another," said Group CEO Nils S. Andersen before going on to emphasise that safety is the first discussion point at any Executive Board meeting and defines the way Maersk runs its business. Something that became very visible during the safety day where the Executive Board members presented opportunities and challenges within their various business units.

Maersk benefits from having several heterogeneous business areas yet all with homogenous requirements when it comes to safety. Maersk Oil particularly is employed in areas where the risks are well defined and a constant threat producing the awareness that even a smaller incident can create severe havoc locally as well as globally. This means that all are aware they are involved in the business of controlling risk and therefore safety is engrained into everything they do, an importance they can convey to other parts of the group.

Unsurprisingly it was cargo handling where the day to day incidents were highest and subsidiary APM Terminals accounts for 80% of all fatalities that take place in the Danish group’s activities. To address the challenges, APM Terminals has put forward an action plan, introduced a global safety day and developed personal safety plans. One of the key challenges for APM Terminals is that approximately 90,000 third party truck drivers enter APM Terminals' vicinities daily. This means management must be ready to make hard yet realistic decisions.”If we have a facility that can't be brought up to standard, I'm willing to leave this facility, our goal of zero incidents and zero fatalities will never change and our commitment to safety is higher than ever,” said APM’s CEO Kim Fejfer.

The meeting closed with target areas clearly defined for all staff to pay special attention to. Executives were told to never be satisfied with shallow answers but to identify the root causes of accidents and to eliminate unmitigated hazards. Also to ensure systems were in place to encourage correct behaviour within a strong culture of safety and to focus on smaller injuries that may have the potential to become serious.