Safety Ambassador Says Ghana Ready to Learn

By MarEx 2014-10-28 18:24:00

CHIRP and MARS Ambassador Joshua Attipoe talks about the importance of safety in Ghana and his reasons for becoming a safety ambassador:

Ghana is one of the latest countries to join the oil and gas industry, especially offshore exploration. This of course requires both maritime and aviation support. 

As a member of the Nautical Institute, I think it is good for me to support the industry to be accident free. This is just the beginning of the discovery of oil in Ghana. We see announcements about new hydrocarbon discoveries and more are expected in the future. Ghanaians have to make sure that the industry is accident free and how can we do that? It is by making safety measures work.

Reading The Nautical Institute’s monthly publication Seaways, I saw an article early this year seeking ambassadors to promote the work of MARS and CHIRP. I recalled an accident that had occurred some months earlier. It was offshore Ghana involving a helicopter and a drilling rig. This pushed me to apply for the ambassador position in West Africa. 

What also encouraged me to join the group is that safety is very important in marine and offshore operations. It has long been recognized that learning from our loss experience is vital for success. The key to this process is the removal of a blame culture. The only way to succeed is to actively encourage workforce personnel and managers to be open and honest when it comes to reporting events. Placing undue and unwanted emphasis on blame and fault creates a negative atmosphere. 

Whilst accidents are relatively rare events, hazardous occurrences or near miss incidents are not rare, they happen all around us continuously. Many go unnoticed, many unreported and many more are not investigated.

We need to change our thinking on the importance of all these events. Reporting and evaluating every potential and actual loss or near miss will achieve this. We will mitigate our risks considerably by identifying causes through investigation, then establishing and managing controls. 

The maritime industry covers offshore exploration, shipping operations at sea and in the port, and unfortunately these are proven areas for accidents.  In Ghana, I believe there are many more areas to look. We have recreational areas, fishing industry and inland waterway transport on the River Volta. These are the areas I am looking at to promote the CHIRP Maritime and MARS program. I am keen to educate the local people on near miss/accident reporting, showing them the big advantage of carrying safety messages to the people who operate on the River Volta. 

As Ghana is now going to compete with the international communities in terms of oil exploration, our expectation of the benefits from oil is high and for that matter safety measures have to also be high. Ghana should not repeat the same mistakes that caused accidents in other countries in similar situations in the past. There are many things we should learn from the primary reasons for and the root causes of accidents. This joint CHIRP/MARS ambassador program paves the way for me to have access to those previous incident reports and present them to the local people to learn from them.

Ghana is not alone with offshore exploration off the shores of West Africa, other neighboring countries can benefit as well. I think this program comes at the right time for the operators in Ghana and West Africa to embrace. Safety awareness and knowledge has to be impressed on the locals. I think this ambassador program can be a new source of information and provide good help to improve the safety of individuals employed within or associated with maritime operations, recreational areas, fishing and transport.  However we need, as ambassadors, the opportunity to share with the local people all information derived from past hazardous occurrences and incidents.

The aim of CHIRP is to seek out root causes, identify the lessons learned and to consider how best this information can be used to prevent reoccurrence elsewhere in the maritime industry. I want to take this platform to encourage the operators to collaborate with the Nautical Institute, MARS and CHIRP Maritime to make this program effective. 

To find out how I and other ambassadors can help you, telephone the Charitable Trust’s office in Farnborough England +44 1252 378947. Or email enquiries to: mail@chirp.co.uk  

A CHIRP report can be generated online here.