TT Talk - Port & terminal induction procedures - case study
A fundamental building block for safety at any site is enforcing good site induction procedures. No visitor should enter a facility without receiving a proper safety induction. Further, employees and contractors deserve parallel safety treatment and enforcement. Following on from
on this topic, one port here recounts its experience. The TT Club welcomes this contributed article from Port Otago Limited, who have insured with the Club for three decades.
Inductions have been proven to be effective in reducing incidents, especially in relation to third parties who are most at risk. It is equally important, of course, not to neglect regular safety training for employees, alongside consistent enforcement. Proper induction procedures will help minimise accidents regardless of the size of facility. Furthermore, should a serious injury or fatality occur, where appropriate induction procedures are in place you are likely to face reduced exposure to workplace safety penalties and an improved defensive position for any compensation claim.
Business and site induction processes are an important facet of establishing and maintaining corporate safety standards globally, and this is particularly relevant for the container terminal industry.
Considering the situation
Within busy port terminal operations, adequate induction procedures are required to maintain legislative safety requirements. This is particularly true in the case of truck drivers delivering and collecting containers. In this global industry, all too often third party drivers are not inducted properly; they get out of their trucks where they should not, and they get run over by the heavy mobile equipment used in terminals. Injuries and fatalities in this environment are well known to be the highest reported safety and injury issue areas in the industry.
In addition, contractors of all persuasions regularly access container terminals to carry out maintenance activities, repairs to all manner of infrastructure and equipment, and to conduct regular scheduled inspection tasks. We need to be confident they understand our business requirements, can carry out work to a high safety standard, and will remain safe on our premises.
'We need to be confident they understand our business requirements, can carry out work to a high safety standard, and will remain safe'
The traditional paper-based systems that were in place at Port Otago fell well short, frankly, of modern industry safety standards. The details were often out of date, and no effective method was available to establish quickly who had completed an induction and when.
After experiencing similar systems in Australia, Port Otago staff initiated a project to establish how to achieve an online induction process that could be completed by their employees as a standard process, but include the ability for contractors and visitors to complete the process prior to arrival at the terminal. This included externally employed truck drivers.
Implementing a solution
It was quickly established that the Port would develop its own cloud-based online induction process, providing a standardised way of ensuring employees, contractors, and visitors who required access to the terminal, including buildings and operational areas, had all completed the same process.
Working closely with Cell-media in Perth, Australia, a cloud-based design was developed and trialled. Using our own employees in staged and real work situations, a user-friendly process was designed. The smart functionality Cell-net provided was immediately seen as a major step-change to a problematic process, and was enthusiastically received across the business. It has quickly become a standard; its effectiveness and functionality has been widely recognised as a leading Port Industry initiative.
Accessing the process from the Port Otago website is simple. Once the process is completed the HR department instantly receives a notification and the details are updated in SharePoint (our Intranet). All Port Otago managers are able to review the induction details for all their staff and contractors, including their expiry dates (two year frequency) online at any time. There is also a facilitated version which means we can induct a group of contractors. In this instance, the questions are printed out and the group works through all the answers together. The questions are different each time someone does the induction.
At the completion of the induction, a contractor is able to get a certificate to print out as proof of completing it. In addition, all our staff do a 45 minute employee induction every two years, the process being the same as for a contractor. We have also devised a visitor induction that does not have assessments; it is the shortest of all the inductions and used solely for one- off visits.
As this was new technology for the Port, it was anticipated that there might be problems and issues. However, the only hurdle at the beginning was on some occasions we did not get notification that an induction had been completed, which was rectified immediately by Cell-media.
We have an 'Induction Package' (staff, contractor and visitor). An online employee handbook has been developed for our permanent staff; this also gives HR instant notification of staff reading and acknowledging acceptance of the policies and business information for legal reasons. This last step was a very low cost, but important late addition for process audit purposes.
Completing the process
Finally, we also added an online preamble within our Port Otago web page:
'We would appreciate you completing our Online Induction process and read through our Safety Handbook prior to arriving. The Induction has a series of questions and on completion an email is forwarded to HR. A similar arrangement applies to the Handbook, however no questions are involved there, it just confirms to HR that you have opened it.'
This Online initiative has been a significant step towards improved management of Health & Safety across the Port Otago business. Not only is there now proper control over access by all people to the port site, but there have been significant operational efficiency gains because staff do not need to be deployed to ensure site inductions are completed satisfactorily by contractors and visitors. This has meant valuable time has been saved by this technological introduction.
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Risk Management Director, TT Club