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Nordic Tankers

Nordic Tankers works towards increasing its safety level which is of key importance in the transport of chemicals by sea.

The company undertakes projects addressing organisational processes as well as corporate culture. A high safety level is beneficial for the protection of crew, cargo the general public and the environment.

Nordic Tankers operates nearly 130 specialised tankers specifically constructed for carrying chemical substances. These vessels carry hundreds of different chemicals and other liquids, ranging from red wine to concentrated sulphuric acid. Nordic Tankers operates globally, the main regions being US Gulf, Central and South America as well as North West Europe. The company has approximately 1450 employees at sea and 210 ashore at offices in Denmark, France, USA, Colombia, Singapore and Latvia.

Implementing a Safety Culture

Chemical cargo owners require shipping companies to document high safety standards as a prerequisite for operating in the market. This means that, apart from having sophisticated ships and equipment, shipping companies must design and implement strict safety procedures and sign on specially trained crews.

A high safety level is not only beneficial for the protection of crew and cargo, but also translates into greater safety for the general public, especially populations living in port cities and coastal areas close to the routes of chemical tankers. The benefits of high safety levels are also evident regarding the environment.

Nordic Tankers has chosen a profile as High Safety Carrier as one of its competitive edges. This requires on-going efforts in terms of specifying detailed safety procedures that are harmonised, planned and transparent for all parts of the work on board and inherent in the culture of crews on-board and staff ashore.

To improve safety performance, Nordic Tankers has started a project called Safety Culture. Working with the culture, goes beyond detailed safety procedures, and the aim is to bring safety into the DNA of all employees and bring all Nordic Tankers ships into the top quartile in terms of safety performance. The first step involved a diagnosis of the challenges at Nordic Tankers. The diagnosis revealed that there was room for improvement in the interplay and communication between shore departments and ships, a need for role models and leadership and a need for improved motivation for learning and knowledge-sharing.

Sharing knowledge and defining responsibilities

To ensure active engagement from everyone the next steps include communication, a safety leadership training program and knowledge-sharing initiatives. Knowledge-sharing among staff on ships and ashore will include establishing an ideas bank with employees being invited to submit their suggestions for safety improvements.

Nordic Tankers will also develop a Code of Conduct that will include policies in matters of safety. The company will educate key personnel at sea and ashore in how to apply the Code in practice so they may act as role models and can coach their colleagues.

The last step involves defining responsibilities for project results and incorporating these into job descriptions and appraisal systems. This includes establishing of a rewards and sanctions matrix clarifying consequences of behaviour affecting safety.

Measuring improvements

Nordic Tankers also work with Key Performance Indicators in a number of areas related to safety. The most important indicator is the number of so-called Lost Time Incidents (LTI's). LTIs are work related incidents resulting in absence from work on a scheduled work shift on the day following the injury. Nordic Tankers has improved its LTI from 1,8 in 2010 to below 0,8 in 2012, and has set a target for further improvement in 2013.

Further information: www.nordictankers.com