A safe work environment

Creating a safe work environment together

Maaike Waterreus - SHE Specialist

Working in shipbuilding comes with certain risks. Therefore, we prioritise sustainable working conditions in our policy, fostering a proactive, safety-consious environment for our employees. The common goal is for every employee to go home safe and healthy at the end of every day.  We are building a proactive and learning organisation where everyone takes ownership and responsibility when it comes to safety. One of the key elements is the I-CARE (I Create a Right Environment) programme. Everyone working at, with or for Royal IHC has access to the I-CARE Compass with the company’s guiding principles for safe and healthy work practices. These values make up the core of Royal IHC’s overarching I-CARE programme. I-Care programme manager Maaike Waterreus coordinates this programme and organises the resources and methods for it.

Employee engagement

“Of course, employees have to abide by all the health and safety agreements that are in place. But to achieve our goal of 0 incidents per year (2022: 17), we are also going to have to increase our employees’ engagement on this point. We do that by organising engagement sessions at team level. At these sessions, we address questions such as, ‘What is already going well on your team?’ and ‘What will you, as a team, do differently to make the work safer?’ Safety is also a fixed item on the agenda for every work meeting. Everyone attending such meetings is asked whether there have recently been any near misses or other incidents and what we can learn from them.’ 

The I-CARE team also posts an ‘I-CARE moment’ on the intranet every three weeks: an engaging, topical message with different tips and focus points on a specific safety issue. For production department workers, these messages are captured in visuals and shared on posters. Maaike explains: “The power of these messages lies in the fact that we keep things simple and give concrete tips as to what to do or not do with respect to that specific issue.” 

Important for all employees

Through the continuous exposure of I-CARE, Royal IHC aims to raise awareness of and achieve active engagement on health, safety and the environment among all employees. 

Maaike Waterreus - SHE Specialist

That the I-CARE acronym is set in the first-person singular is no coincidence. I-CARE is important for all employees, including those at, for example, the corporate and engineering departments.

Maaike Waterreus - SHE Specialist

"How a part or machine is designed has a bearing on the environmental impact of their use and on the safety of the person installing, using, or maintaining it. And employees of all departments move around our sites, so they need to know what safety rules apply.” 

To strengthen this safety awareness, Maaike organised various I-CARE workshops in 2022, which were widely welcomed by employees. “We were successful in making the topics that were covered at the workshops tie in with employees’ day-to-day practices. And discussing together what is going well and what does not contribute to achieving the I-CARE goals. It is also true that we still have progress to make when it comes to identifying and acknowledging all the things that are already going well.” 

Further engagement sessions with the teams are scheduled. These sessions will not be targeted only at workers at Royal IHC’s capacity centres (production departments), office staff will also join in. “We always start with management, so as to send a strong, incentivising signal to the rest of the organisation.”

Near-misses and challenging behaviour

Something else that the SHE team also wants to work on is lowering the threshold for sharing things that nearly went wrong. These are important, valuable learning opportunities.

The three principles of the I-CARE programme are physical safety, social safety, and equity. “By ‘equity’ we mean that someone who makes a mistake must not immediately be punished for it. We want to change unwanted behaviour and encourage wanted behaviour; that is the goal, in the interest of everyone involved. This will be easier if we challenge each other on behaviour whenever we believe that there is a safer way to perform a certain task. But if someone willingly violates safety rules for their own convenience, thus putting themselves or others in danger, there will be consequences.” 

Supply chain engagement sessions 

Additionally, Maaike looks at the attention to safety across the supply chain. In 2022, she organised the first engagement session together with a client, Heerema Marine Contractors from Leiden. It was highly appreciated by those attending the session and the client’s management. These kinds of outcomes greatly energise Maaike, as do the successes achieved within our company. Maaike continues to be the same energetic advocate for health, safety, and environmental awareness at Royal IHC. 

A safe work environment

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