Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) from a shipping perspective

One thing that all trustworthy shipping companies have in common is their priority placed on safety. Reputed shipping companies draft out detailed Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) policies to safeguard the best interests of their employees. The HSE is usually evaluated and implemented by officials who are part of a dedicated HSE department or team. 

All shipping accidents that cause damage to health, safety and environment can be prevented when appropriate measures are taken in advance. This necessitates a policy to detail out those measures and maintain them on a level equivalent to the company’s profit margins. Therefore, HSE policies are prioritised as the primary business objectives.

What is a Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Policy?

The Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) policy is a good reflector of the measures in place to avoid preventable incidents from taking place. HSE is not restricted only to the health of the crew, but to the safety of all members who are part of the process as well as the environment and the operations must be reflective of these considerations. 

Need for a Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Policy

There are several incidents that can be addressed and prevented with an HSE policy in place. What an HSE policy does is:

  • Ensure overall health and wellbeing of all employees of an organisation with the facilitation of a safe and healthy workplace
  • Outline and prevent hazard risks and conditions which could cause loss of human life 
  • Outline and prevent hazard risks and conditions which could result in personal injury 
  • Prevent occupational diseases 
  • Improve health of all employees 
  • Prevent conditions that may pose a risk to the environment 

Tools to facilitate best practices for Health, Safety and Environment (HSE)

There are a few systems to be set into the operations of a company to ensure compliance with HSE regulations. These include: 

  • System for reporting near-miss and incidents 
  • System for reporting non-compliance with HSE regulations 
  • A dedicated team of HSE experts to oversee operations 
  • Thorough investigation of near-miss /  incidents and non-compliance with regulations with immediate addressing of the issue in an appropriate and timely manner
  • Access to medical care for all seafarers on board 
  • Updation and improvement of safety management systems 
  • Training and updation of safety procedures onboard 
  • Efficient use of resources and reduction of waste produced to minimise impact on the environment
  • Use of energy efficient alternative products 

Compliance and adherence to the appropriate local and international shipping regulations and standards, guarantees personnel safety at all times. Safety management systems act as great tools to improve the implementation of these standards. A Safety Management System (SMS) plays an important role in maintaining these safety measures and preventing negative environmental impact.