Social capital

The Danish MSSM Conference is an annual opportunity for all ship operators to meet and discuss safety, health and the work environment.
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The Danish MSSM Conference is an annual opportunity for all ship operators to meet and discuss safety, health and the work environment.

The conference is organized by Danish Sea Health together with Europe’s Maritime Development Centre and the Danish Maritime Authority. For two tightly scheduled days, there are short lectures and workshops in which both professionals and researchers give their views on current issues.
The conference also draws a large number of organizations that exhibit the latest in safety equipment, training and so on. This year’s conference theme was social capital and how this resource can be managed in the best interests of both employees and companies.
Families’ worries
Among the opening speakers was Hans Schneider, Chief of Operations for A2SEA, the company that in ten years has grown from a one-man business into a market leader in offshore wind farm installations. Schneider explained how they continually developed their systematic work environment and safety activities in an expanding and risky field, with so much specialized equipment that authorities could not provide information on which regulations applied to their specially-designed ships and jack-up barges.
During the two conference days there were 16 parallel sessions on safety, health and environment to choose from, with each session offering one or more presentations. Under the heading of “Crisis management for pirate attacks” not only the company’s efforts to reduce the risk of attack were discussed, but also how to respond to the concerns of families of seamen who sail in pirate-ridden waters, and how a crisis psychologist works after the damage is done. Another very interesting session dealt with the work environment during new construction of ships. Morten Larsen, technical and nautical director of Fjord Line, and Jan Rasmussen, work environment consultant at Danish Sea Health, talked about their joint work in the design of Fjord Line’s two new RoPax ferries for delivery in 2012.
Consultant in work environment
The goal was to ensure a smooth flow of all the tasks onboard early on, during the design and construction phase, so that the ships are built in such a way that the crew can work safely and effectively without risk of accidents and ill health.
The speakers said that when the decks, firewalls, ventilation and plumbing are all designed, it is both difficult and expensive to make changes and incorporate new ideas. The work environment consultant acted as a safety and work environment filter at the design and construction phase, with the task of reviewing plans and highlighting any deficiencies and improvement opportunities.
In general, the MSSM days are a fantastic source of inspiration for our own work environment and safety activities, and a good opportunity to keep abreast of the latest developments in this area. Pencil in next year’s conference straightaway: 30-31 August 2012 in Nyborg.
Cecilia Österman/Chalmers University of Technology
Karl-Arne Johansson /Seko seafarers

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