Safety at work

Safety plays a vital role in pilotage work and is one of our three key values. The ability to identify risks and prepare for them is essential within our challenging operational environment. We invested a great deal in the development of occupational safety during 2018.

A great deal was learned from the Emäsalo accident

On 8 December 2017, the worst possible scenario played out, when a pilot boat accident took place in the waters near Emäsalo, resulting in the loss of two of our experienced employees. The accident left a permanent scar on Finnpilot; it will always remain with us and will serve to guide our safety work now and in the future. As a result of the accident, we gained a lot of new information, which led to a number of immediate changes. We implemented many improvements to our boats, guidelines and personnel safety training. All of this will help to prevent accidents like this from ever taking place again. Finnpilot has truly taken its safety culture to a new level.

Additional resources for the development of occupational safety and training

In 2018, Finnpilot established the position of Training and Safety Manager. The Training and Safety Manager is responsible for supporting the field supervisors in the development of regional safety management and for participating in the development of the company’s overall safety management system as well as the deviation process. He also coordinates the internal training system in accordance with the aims specified by the Finnpilot Academy working group.

The activities of Finnpilot’s Safety group were initiated under the leadership of the Training and Safety Manager. The work of the Safety group aims to improve safety within our daily activities and, therefore, the most important aim for the initial phase is to compile experiences and viewpoints related to the daily work. The form of the Safety group activities and tools to be utilised will be specified further during the winter of 2018–2019.

New testing cabin facilitates evacuation exercises

Water rescue exercises are carried out annually at all pilot stations. Every three years, the exercises are conducted and led by Meriturva Maritime Safety Training Centre and any identified shortcomings are corrected. Meriturva has a rescue training unit in Lohja, Finland, where pilots and pilot boat operators receive rescue and survival training for new employees, and where they return for refresher courses every five years. During 2018, a rescue training cabin designed and commissioned by Finnpilot was taken into use at Meriturva’s facility in Lohja for the purpose of practicing and testing the possibilities for evacuation from a capsized pilot vessel cabin.

Prevention of occupational accidents

Pilotage-related accidents are generally minor, such as injuries caused by slipping or strain caused by lifting heavy equipment or materials. During 2018, Finnpilot employees experienced a total of 14 occupational accidents at work or during the work commute. Moving around a boat or ship deck in slippery conditions and in the dark is a clear safety hazard that can be diminished, for example, with the use of the right type of footwear. When we are better able to identify and understand the factors that cause accidents, it is easier for us to take measures to eliminate them. If we are to prevent and learn from occupational accidents, it is essential to realise open communications and the exchange of information between field supervisors and occupational health and safety representatives. Through the development of the deviation observation process, we endeavour to fortify our capabilities to process and share information more effectively.

On the anniversary of the pilot boat accident, lumberjack’s candles were lit at pilot stations around Finland as a way for the pilot boat operators, pilots, pilot coordinators, housekeeper/cleaners and administrative personnel at Finnpilot to remember their colleagues who were lost in the accident. Candles were also lit outside of Finnpilot’s Pilot Order Centre, located on Kansakoulukuja in Helsinki and open 24/7/365. Photos: Sami Raanti, Katariina Engblom
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