Proceedings Of The Marine

FALL 2011

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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Page 57 of 79

Just because that's the way it's always been done does not mean it's still the best or safest method. standards and are implemented to improve opera- tional safety for all users. For example, users of a congested waterway, port, RU GLIÀFXOW QDYLJDWLRQ DUHD PD\ MRLQWO\ GHYHORS EHVW practices and user guidelines when navigating in those waters. Company Practices Most companies already have standard procedures, but refer to them as operating procedures, safety management systems, standing orders, or other ter- minology. But remember, to be effective, best prac- tices by any name must be known and understood by all employees. Practices should be in writing and training should be conducted and tested periodically to ensure their meaning is clear. Like anything else, best practices shouldn't just be developed and left alone. Equipment is replaced, YHVVHOV JR IDVWHU UHJXODWLRQV FKDQJH WUDIÀF SDWWHUQV change, and passenger expectations and demands change. As your operating environment changes, so too must your practices. To continue to be effective, your practices must be reviewed regularly, updated as required, enforced, and infused into current day-to- day operations. Link to Accident Prevention At the deck-plate level, prac- tices communicate how to make your operations safer, more effective, and provide a better value to your customers. But if you leave them on the shelf in WKH FRPSDQ\ RIÀFH WKH\ ZLOO KDYH PLQLPDO LPSDFW RQ operations or accident prevention. To be truly useful, there must be a "link" for communicating the prac- tices to front-line operators. This link will require a combination of training, documentation, and enforce- ment. Training lets everyone know the company standards as well as the details of the program. After the initial training, you can post a succinct summary of your company practices at strategic locations. Including a review as part of other training will keep the topic current and visible. Equally important is an audit program to validate that the practices are known and followed. Although the audit can be an internal function, an independent external auditor will provide a fresh set of eyes on the situation, and may be better positioned to identify safety improvements. The Final Word Maritime operations are high-stakes activities, and when things go wrong, they can go wrong big-time— often garnering national media attention that many times leads to additional regulations. The risk is real. There have been examples of things going wrong in all regions of the world in the past few years. As your operating environment changes, so too must your best practices. About the author: Mr. Rick Janelle, U.S. Coast Guard passenger vessel safety special- ist, has 30 years of active, reserve, and civilian emergency response and planning experience with the U.S. Coast Guard. Since 2002, he has been actively involved in maritime mass rescue response plan- ning, especially the critically important shore-side component. Best practices are your daily practices of excellent, safe marine operations to keep the big-time problems DZD\ 7KH\ DUH DOO DERXW VDIH HIÀFLHQW RSHUDWLRQV So make the old roofer Clarence proud, and let your practices establish the way it ought to be done, and don't be shy about making sure everyone on your team follows them. 58 Proceedings Fall 2011

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