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SPOTCHECKSAFETY


fatalities arising from such activities quite rightly leads to huge attention to detail within these operations, so as to prevent injury and/or damage to the environment.


Personnel and planning “Perhaps the most significant aspect of any kind of heavy lifting is to ensure there are fully competent specialist contractors in place,” said Sadykov. “At Shell, safety forms a key part of our selection process for lifting contractors, which starts of course with documentation, then site visits, assessments of performance data and compliance with the relevant management system standards. Of course, when we have selected the contractor there is an on-boarding process with training and further competence assessment. Equipment checks are also vital. “At our plant we have a special team who are subject matter experts when it comes to lifting. They form a vital part of the planning process, ensuring compliance with our procedures, issuing permits to work, preparing method statements, safety control sheets and so on before any work actually starts. “Pre-planning forms the biggest part of a project’s overall timeline. When it comes to the task itself, supervision becomes important. As well as continuing to assess competence and equipment, other factors such as weather conditions must always be monitored. We adopt International Oil and Gas Practice (IOGP) recommended practice and always work to the relevant standards.” Sadykov added: “We have 12 life-saving rules at Shell that influence the way we expect our staff and our contractors to behave. Breaching these rules is taken very seriously and can lead to contract termination.”


Heavy cargo Attention to planning and standards is equally strict at one of the UK’s busiest cargo ports.


Glenn Silburn, who is a maintenance manager and engineer for Associated British Ports (ABP) at the port of Hull, leads a team of engineers who, in his words, get involved in lifting “pretty much anything”. Although health and safety is not Silburn’s primary responsibility, he sees it as “the most important aspect” of his role. He holds both a NEBOSH diploma and a joint NEBOSH and University of Hull masters degree (MRes) in occupational health and safety. “We really do lift anything here. We have even got pictures of elephants being taken from the ships as cargo at the port. Nowadays, as far as the energy industry in


104 May/June 2018


Planning is absolutely critical. Wind turbines are not what you would call the most stable of objects, says Glenn Silburn, ABP.


particular is concerned, a lot of our activity centres around equipment for wind farms, so moving things like turbine blades and similar equipment onto ships. “Planning is absolutely critical. Wind turbines are not what you would call the most stable of objects, so even something as simple as where you place the cargo, and in which order, must be well-thought through in advance. And although we carry out these tasks every day at the docks, we never take safety for granted. The bottom line is we rely on the guys, with all of the training and with all the facilities we have given them, to make sure lifting and cargo movements are carried out safely.”


Culture is key


Silburn also made another important point about his team. He stressed that the best procedures in the world can be rendered useless if they are not fully embraced by the people who are tasked with handling dangerous or heavy cargo.


“Human behaviour is something I am hugely interested in; it is what I researched as part of my masters degree. It can never be overlooked and for me it is the culture on site which is really the most important thing.” Sadykov agreed. In Qatar he sees an interesting cultural mix in the workforce.


“Here around 80 percent of the workforce come from different countries. Some cultures are afraid to intervene with their colleagues, whereas in Russia, where I am from, we are perhaps more accepting of intervention.


“Creating an intervention culture is critical. Something as simple as reminding a colleague to wear their safety equipment can prove to be vital. So we try to make everyone feel equal, tell everyone they can intervene if they see unsafe behaviour – there should be no fear and the only consequences will be reward.”


The message is clear. When it comes to safe lifting and hazardous cargo, preparation is important but creating a safe culture is integral to any safe and successful heavy lifting operation.


HLPFI


The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.


NEBOSH (The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) was formed in 1979 as an awarding body with charitable status. It offers a comprehensive range of globally recognised qualifications designed to meet the health, safety and environmental management needs of all places of work.


www.nebosh.org.uk www.heavyliftpfi.com


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