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Celebrating World Health & Safety Day at Work 2024

28 / 04 / 2024

As we celebrate World Health and Safety Day at Work 2024, it’s only right to consider how far we have come since the landmark establishment of the International Management Code (ISM) for Safe Operation of Ships and Pollution Prevention (ISM Code) in 1993 and the publication of the Cullen Report into the Piper Alpha disaster in November 1990

which made 106 recommendations to industry. The theme for this year, "Ensuring safe and healthy work now in a changing climate," underscores the pressing need for adaptability in safety-critical industries like maritime and energy.

Simon Burrows

Our content team has its ear to the ground and an ongoing program of course development is being specifically designed to address some of the most pressing issues facing our customers ahead of time. "

Simon Burrows, Quality Manager

Simon Burrows, Mintra, HESQ Manager “There is no doubt that in the years ahead, our planet will undergo profound changes driven by the relentless force of climate change. Among those significantly impacted are workers operating in safety-critical and hazardous environments such as in the maritime and energy sectors. Their pivotal roles within the supply chain necessitate rigorous health and safety training. However, as climate change presents its many evolving challenges, it’s becoming more and more clear that traditional health, safety and environmental training needs to move with the times if our workers are to be prepared.”

The sheer scope of this challenge is unprecedented in the history of the safety-critical industry. Every member of the workforce whether on or offshore, will need training above and beyond compliance, in any number of topics and technologies if the tides of change are to be navigated safely. This is a challenge that will require the attitude toward training to be proactive and content to evolve and be deployed rapidly as new technologies are developed and deployed to vast workforces in short periods of time. Collaboration between technology developers and digital training providers such as Mintra will be key.

Here at Mintra, our expertise lies in providing digital learning and workforce management solutions for those in the safety-critical industries.

Simon Burrows, third from left, at the 2024 OEUK HSE Conference

This puts us in a unique position to understand the concerns of professionals in these industries and as an agile business, we can easily adapt to rapidly evolving training needs. Our content team has its ear to the ground and an ongoing program of course development is being specifically designed to address some of the most pressing issues facing our customers ahead of time, as we strive to ensure safety in the face of climate change.

Some of the more prevalent areas requiring new content encompass a broad understanding of critical issues such as rising sea levels and changing weather patterns instilling a collective mindset of stewardship towards climate change among all employees. Additionally, there's a need for targeted training addressing specific risks like emergency protocols and managing hydration during extreme heat conditions.

Historically, the safety-critical sector has taken a reactive rather than proactive attitude to safety, implementing change once legislation is in place. Yet, when it comes to climate change, it is foreseeable that a proactive approach will lead businesses to success. Our top proactive strategies for Health and Safety training for the safety-critical industries in response to climate change are listed below.

Understanding Climate-Related Hazards:

Training programs must incorporate modules on climate-related risks such as extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and changing ocean conditions. Preparing safety critical workers to cope with extreme weather mentally as well as physically.

Knowledge and understanding of the impacts of the climate on asset integrity are also vital. The industries will need to manage ageing structures and vessels, heat stress and other climate factors on the construction materials used and understand their resilience to withstand ever-increasing impacts from waves, heat, cold and extreme weather events. Proactive management of asset integrity will ensure an emergency response, though practised, will hopefully not be realised.

Emergency Response Preparedness:

Workers must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to climate-related emergencies, including storms, floods, and accidents caused by changing environmental conditions. Training should focus on emergency protocols, evacuation procedures, and utilising onboard safety equipment in challenging weather scenarios.

Heat Stress Management:

Rising temperatures due to climate change increase the risk of heat-related illnesses among seafarers working in hot and humid maritime environments. Health and safety training should emphasize heat stress management strategies, including hydration, rest breaks, and recognising early signs of heat exhaustion.

Navigation & Maritime Safety:

Climate change impacts ocean currents, sea levels, and coastal erosion, posing navigational challenges for seafarers. Training programs should incorporate updated navigational techniques, including the use of satellite imagery to navigate changing waterways and avoid hazards.

Pollution Prevention & Environmental Stewardship:

Climate change accelerates environmental degradation, emphasizing the need for seafarers to adopt practices that minimize pollution and mitigate their carbon footprint.

Increased ESG training for Health and Safety should include modules on pollution prevention, waste management, and compliance with international environmental regulations.

Mental Health & Resilience:

The uncertainty and stress associated with climate change can take a toll on seafarers' mental health and well-being. Training programs should address mental health awareness, stress management techniques, and resilience-building strategies to support seafarers in navigating climate-related challenges.

Continuous Learning & Adaptation:

Climate change is a dynamic phenomenon, requiring continuous learning and adaptation from workers and industry stakeholders. The collective mindset needs to shift away from current training needs and factor in unprecedented weather conditions and the subsequent effects on our people, equipment and processes. Only by bolstering regulatory training with more health and safety through the three pillars of ESG will we meet the climate’s and the industry's rapidly evolving needs.

If you have any concerns about training your team in these emerging fields or are interested in learning more about health and safety training in the future.

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