Empowering the Sea Staff – Thome Safety Coach Program

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Empowering the Sea Staff – Thome Safety Coach Program

By Capt. Rahul Negi, Regional Training Manager-South Asia, Team Lead – Safety Coach

Empowering The Sea Staff

At Thome, we believe that people in general are safety aware. However due to many perceived notions and the normalization of certain lax practices and taking unnecessary risks which become the norm, then accidents are inevitable. Trends show that the industry is suffering more incidents during routine operations.

We responded by introducing the Safety Coach program which started in 2019 with the first safety coach onboard in May 2019.

To date there has been 44 physical attendances, before COVID restrictions, with improvements being implemented following audits carried out by the safety coaches.

We follow the learning and development rule of 70-20-10 and SC program focus on achieving the holistic development of crew. Safety coaches sail with our ship on average 10-12 days and act as a mentor for crew. Informally, the team has named its methodology as Ci-MODe (Ci- Challenge identification, M – Mentoring, O- Observing & De – Developing the capabilities).

The safety coach acting as a mentor identifies the safety aptitude of the crew by observing them in their day to day activities and then guides them on the identified challenges or intervenes in case of an imminent hazard. Identified challenges are categorized in 16 main categories and 78 sub-categories which are reviewed periodically by our safety coach team in monthly “Brain storming sessions” which ensures consistency throughout the fleet.

We saw an improved response towards safety on ships where the safety coaches have attended. We understand the measurement of safety initiatives is a long-term process. However, there are few indicators which are reflected in interaction with ship and crew.

Tool box meetings are seeing a very good participation from both senior and junior officers. Safety meetings are seeing more response and active participation from crew. “Safety is me” and that means it is not just a box ticking exercise. It is more prominent in our crews’ minds, however our next challenge is to maintain the safety focus to achieve and maintain the desired safety culture.

To ensure continuity and consistency, the safety coaches, from time to time, also conduct shore based inhouse trainings.

Sustainability is a focus point of all our programs. As we understand that 70% of learning is on the job, 20% by our peers and 10% in classroom structure, then soft skill development to support hard skills is very important. The SC Program also focusses on onboard capability development such as to have mentors onboard who can ensure sustainability of the safety culture.