Oct 23

Blog: Safety Culture Conference by Hannah Gilbert

Chamber Policy Advisor Hannah Gilbert attended our Safety Culture Conference in Bristol this week and shared with us the key highlights of the two-day conference.

The Chamber’s annual Safety Culture Conference was held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Grand Bristol Harbour Hotel, where discussions built on last year’s conclusions and focused on 'Establishing a Learning Culture'. 

Over 100 delegates attended the one-and-a-half-day conference in which presentations were given by experts from inside and outside of the maritime sector. Both days were expertly moderated by Barry Smith of Wightlink, who also chairs the Chamber’s Safety Culture Working Group.

Day 1

The first day saw presentations from representatives from HSE, BP Shipping, Anker and Marsh, Heathrow Airport, UK P&I Club, and V Group. The importance of psychological safety in the workplace was highlighted as key to encouraging open communication both within and between teams of employees in order to drive a learning mindset and a culture of care. 

Delegates heard that safety has to be a core principle of any business and that support has to be offered not just to employees at the coal face but also to those in senior leadership positions who may be more removed from day-to-day operations in order to establish a genuine learning culture. 

It was emphasised that trust and good mental health are key features of this, as well as the manner in which an investigation is conducted following an incident. The day finished with a clear message that the industry can drive change but must continue to consider the human element to drive higher standards within the learning cycle.

Day 2

The second day saw presentations from representatives from EUROCONTROL, Network Rail and the Dublin SafePort initiative, as well as an interactive reflection learning session from Shell. 

Delegates were encouraged to monitor and share safety intelligence, recognising that engagement with the wider supply chain was also key to integrating a proper learning culture and safety principles. 

It was emphasised that discussions around safety must be an accessible concept for all, with clear but simple language being used for an industry that is so international and with such a variety of cultures and languages. The conference ended with the understanding that context drives behaviour and that a holistic approach has to be adopted to fully understand and learn from any incident.

Members who wish to register their interest in presenting at next year’s conference or in joining the Chamber’s Safety Culture Working Group, where a full write-up of the conference will be presented, are encouraged to contact Tim Springett