Cost cuts should not affect safety, Maersk CEO says

Cost-cutting not contradictory to safety, Maersk CEO saysToday, on April 28, 2015, Maersk launches its Global Safety Day, engaging employees throughout the Group in discussions of how to support the Group’s safety awareness.

The Global Safety Day coincides with the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, an annual international campaign organized by the United Nation’s International Labour Organization.

According to Maersk, employees at sea and onshore have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities, including town halls, safety workshops and online campaigns. The event line-up marks the first-ever Maersk Group Global Safety Day where all Maersk business units take collective action.

“While we operate in challenging and sometimes harsh work environments, it is our responsibility to ensure that our employees return safely to their homes and families after work. That focus is central to the value Constant Care and defines the way we do business,” says Group CEO Nils S. Andersen.

“Regrettably we’ve experienced a number of fatalities in our operations in the past year. There is no excuse for serious or fatal workplace injuries, and we are urgently working towards an incident-free operation. We fundamentally believe that every accident can be prevented.”

Cost-cutting not contradictory to safety

Given the volatility of the oil price, the oil-related businesses in particular have instigated a cost-reduction mindset, Maersk said. However, according to its CEO, this does not mean compromising on safety.

“Contrary to popular belief, cost leadership and safety go hand-in-hand. We can only streamline and improve performance if we take a structured, well-planned approach, and that means prioritizing safety. Our license to operate and continue executing on strategy simply depends on it,” Nils S. Andersen says.

Safety leadership

One key to safety is leadership. It is not enough to set up guidelines and procedures. It is up to the management teams on the ground to ensure employees understand they risk their lives if the procedures are not followed.

“Every business has invested in safety initiatives to address individual challenges and progress toward the goal of zero incidents. APM Terminals, for example, faces unique challenges related to the high number of outside contractors, truckers and suppliers coming in and out of its terminals. The business is focused on managing the safety practices of outside contractors. It has also, like Maersk Drilling and Svitzer, adopted a principle of empowering all employees, regardless of rank, to stop unsafe operations,” says Bent Nielsen, Head of Marine Standards in Svitzer who has been coordinating campaign efforts on behalf of the Sustainability Council.

The Group CEO also encouraged employees to bring their good working habits home with them.

“While working at Maersk, you enter the tradition of taking care of one another. With this year’s umbrella theme for Global Safety Day, ‘Safe at Work – Safe at Home,’ I urge all our employees across the Group to focus on safety as a priority and to create environments where safety is deeply-rooted in behaviour, performance and company culture – whether at home or at work.”

Source: Maersk

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