A few months ago, we invited staff working on vessels, and at terminals and warehouses to participate in a safety survey. The response rate was overwhelming, and we cannot thank the colleagues who took the time to complete the survey enough. The input is invaluable.
We haven’t finished processing and analysing all the data yet, but one extremely important thing leapt out. Apparently, not all colleagues are fully familiar with the term ‘no-blame culture’ or ‘just culture’ and what this culture implies. Some industries use the term ‘no blame’ while others use the more up-to-date term ‘just culture’, but it is basically the same.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has defined a ‘just culture’ in their circular (MSC-MEPC.7/Circ.7 – Guidance on Near-Miss Reporting):
A ‘just culture’ features an atmosphere of responsible behaviour and trust whereby people are encouraged to provide essential safety-related information without fear of retribution. However, a distinction is drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Unacceptable behaviour will not necessarily receive a guarantee that a person will not face consequences.
If you want to read the IMO circular, you can find it here
‘Just culture’ at DFDS
DFDS has of course also implemented a ‘just culture’. It is described in our Safety Management System (SMS) for our vessels in the Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) Policy. It is signed by CEO Torben Carlsen. If you happen to visit DFDS House in Copenhagen, you can actually see the HSE policy posted in the lobby just after the reception desk.
The Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) Policy
It is crucial that everyone at DFDS knows that no person should fear reprisals or punitive action for reporting a near-miss to the company.
We must all embrace a true ‘just culture’ so people feel safe and encouraged to report safety-related incidents, near-miss reports etc., so that we can improve the safety level at DFDS and share all the important lessons learnt. For those of you who have access to our SMS, you can read more about this in SMS documents 2.1.0 and 9.1.1.
If for some reason you want to report an incident anonymously, there are several ways to do that. We will inform more about that shortly.
Some of you may be familiar with the safety guru Sidney Dekker, who has made some very good speeches about ‘just culture’.
Click on the links to hear him.