Dredging operations are risky business, therefore the dredging industry pays a lot of attention to safety. Launched in 2015, the IADC Safety Award is intended to encourage the development of safety skills on the job, rewarding people and companies demonstrating diligence in safety awareness in the performance of their profession.

Soon to be given for the second time, the Safety Award is relevant for all companies active in the dredging industry and recognises the exceptional safety performance of a particular project, product, ship, team or employees.


In September 2017 the IADC Board of Directors will present the winner of the Safety Award 2017 at the IADC Annual General Meeting in Marseille, France.


For now, IADC presents the 13 meritorious nominations in the running to receive the Safety Award 2017.


  1. Boskalis – Plastic Bomb Grid

The presence of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and the high risk of explosions is a pervasive hazard to dredging activities. To minimise damage which can be caused to a hopper dredger’s drag head, a steel bomb grid is mounted to prevent UXOs from entering the suction pipe during operation. Weighing in at a whopping 80 kilos, the attachment is cumbersome to install, taking between three and four hours to secure which is especially problematic since frequent cleaning is necessary throughout operation. Searching for a better solution, a works manager from Boskalis consulted knowledgeable captains and crew. By swapping out steel for plastic, the grid’s weight was trimmed down to 15 kilos. The lightweight substitute offers a hassle-free installation, and takes a mere 30 minutes. Although three times more expensive to manufacture, the plastic alternative reduces the amount of time and injuries associated with the installation process. Additionally, cutting down a vessel’s weight equates to more sand in its hopper, making plastic bomb grids a much more favourable choice both in terms of bottom line and performance.


  1. Boskalis’s – Mooring Actuator

Secured to a backhoe’s bollards with heavy lines, a barge assists with the transport of material dredged by the backhoe. Conventionally, two crew members must drag and manoeuvre the heavy lines, manually mooring the separate units alongside each other. During the loading of material, the barge lowers into the water, requiring the lines to be incrementally paid out, and all the while the risk of line breakage is omnipresent. Mooring is a time-costly and injury-prone procedure. In its quest for a safer, more economical and faster alternative, Boskalis devised the Mooring Actuator, an automated twist on the process. A backhoe is fitted out with two rotating arms from which two steel balls are suspended from chains. Placed along the barge’s edge, U-shaped bollards catch the approaching steel balls. Working a safe distance away from the “line of fire”, one crew member uses a remote control to moor the dredger and barge by swivelling the arms to set the steel balls inside the U-shaped bollards. Once secured, especially developed Constant Tension winches begin to roll up the lines, providing increased stability to the barge than was possible before the Mooring Actuator. The amount of time it takes to execute the mooring process is reduced by ten minutes and crew safety during the activity increases for good.


  1. Damen Shiprepair – CCTV-system

In an effort to reduce the dangers to crew both inside and outside a vessel, Damen Shiprepair entrusted a CCTV-system (installed by RBC) with overseeing activities taking place in high-risk locations, including the engine, pump and turret rooms as well as confined spaces. Running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Damen’s linked camera surveillance, access control, gas detection, audio/visual alarm and open radio transmission system lets one person continuously monitor 20 high-risk locations all at once from a Mobile Command Unit, detecting and acting upon hazards as they arise, in real time. At the onset, hazardous situations increased significantly but with this information, Damen was able to improve the safety management system and guarantee worker’s safety. The cameras will soon be wireless, but until then needs a 220V power source and cable to connect with the central supervision unit. The system reduces operational costs by 20 to 50 per cent by requiring less static safety consultants on site.


  1. DEME – Worldwide Safety Stand Down

DEME actively addresses safety and since 2008, its QHSE-S department dedicated itself to instil a company-wide “Safety Culture” through its self-initiated cultural and behavioural safety programme “Colleagues, Help Injuries to Leave DEME” (CHILD). Last year, the initiative was taken to the next level with CHILD5, which emphasises four pillars necessary for safety: engagement, collaboration, communication and leadership. One of the programme’s noteworthy components was the Worldwide Safety Stand Down. On Thursday 30 March 2017, DEME’s CEO simultaneously halted all of DEME’s field and office operations around the world for two hours. During this time frame, every DEME employee, as well as many independent contractors working on stopped projects, watched a video which gave information on a recent incident and detailed the results of it roots cause investigation. A refresher video of the CEO’s “Stop Work Authority” followed in an effort to empower employees to stop any unsafe or unprepared job. Afterwards, employees used a tool called Hazard Hunt to identify unsafe conditions in their working area and at the conclusion of the two hours, signed a personal Safety Charter. Involving monumental costs and resources in terms of planning and execution, the event and its disruptive approach has led to a significant decline in incidents ever since.


  1. Royal IHC – 4 Points of Attention Plan

To improve daily safety operations on its shipyards, Royal IHC tasked a multi-disciplinary team of representatives from senior and operational management, the work floor and Safety Department with identifying high-risk working areas: safe working at height on scaffolding, orderliness and cleanliness by proper housekeeping, safe use of certified tools and equipment and personal protective equipment compliance. Entitled the 4 Points of Attention Plan, a policy of weekly assessments covering these four areas was issued company-wide. Employees must individually assess the week’s performance – on a scale of one (poor) to ten (excellent) – in advance of an operational meeting held every Friday. By 7:30am on Monday morning, an individual must implement all discussed changes which are then checked by the Safety Department for compliance and finally the results are reported to senior management. Based on the reduction of incidents, the desired result of increased safety awareness and an instilled culture of individual accountability and responsibility were produced by the weekly assessment process motivated by its reward system.


  1. Jan De Nul Group – Controlled Connection of Floating Pipelines

The manual process of connecting floating pipelines has always been a risky task. Calm water conditions and competent skippers, deckhands and crane operators are required to prevent possible incidents or injuries. Jan De Nul Group developed the controlled alternative following multiple technical reviews and trials with crew. The connection ends of the floating pipeline strings are set up within a pair of catamaran pontoons. Between the Cutter Suction Dredger and floating pipelines, the connection process involves an especially-engineered tool in the pipe ring’s lug to keep the ring straight while a fibre rope pulls the ends of the pipelines closer. The ends are secured together with a hydraulic quick fit connection. With the process limited by 120 metre-long pipeline strings at the end of pontoons, the result is easier access within the pontoon work space, leading to better project planning and reduced risk of open water operations. Although the overall system is 10 per cent more expensive, the combination of reducing interrupted production periods due to bad weather conditions and employee accidents has led to its welcomed reception by crew in field operations. Ongoing tests and user feedback have already led to planned innovations such as making the process remote controllable and using solar-powered hydraulic packs for added efficiency and sustainability.


  1. Jan De Nul Group – Hatch Covers for Deck Hatches

When a low deck hatch is in the process of opening, it quickly becomes a dangerous situation. Falling down an unprotected and open hatch presents high potential for a fatal injury. While new vessels have already eliminated this danger by adding waist-high coamings around hatch openings, crews on older vessels are still vulnerable. While many types of ad-hoc barriers have been created to resolve the issue throughout the dredging industry, the crew of the trailing suction hopper dredger Capitan Nuñez found an innovative answer to the problem: stationary stanchions. Surrounding the deck hatch, the stanchion makes the area surrounding the opening safer, whether it is in the open or closed position, or anywhere in between. By removing the safety pin which secures the stanchion, the add-on can be removed if the need arises, making the solution easy to use. Older vessels in the Jan De Nul fleet have been retrofitted with the stanchions making for a sustainable solution.


  1. Jan De Nul Group – Transport of Pipelines Optimisation

A common activity on reclamation sites and logistics yards is the transport of landlines with trucks. Jan De Nul Group optimised and enhanced the handling and transport of dredge pipes by means of three techniques: the use of Dhatec cradles, modular spreaders and C-pipe hooks in combination with soft slings. The combination of all three changes improves efficiency of the job, safety during the handling and transport, and both the safety and ergonomics for riggers.The Dhatec cradles are mounted on the truck platform – adjustable to the pipeline diameter – and with lashing straps the load is secured on the truck. The C-pipe hooks are attached to a soft sling which makes it safer and ergonomically easier for the rigger to handle. And thanks to the use of the spreader beam, the soft slings with attached C-pipe hooks are positioned optimally by using taglines so that the riggers can easily attach the load from the ground. The revised method is being implemented across Jan De Nul’s global activities as it has proven to be beneficial to all parties associated with pipeline transport.


  1. Jan De Nul Group – Manholes Ventilation and Cover

A deck’s manholes which have been left open to ventilate tanks presents a safety hazard to crew. Not to mention the tank becomes a receptacle for dropped objects and the loose cover lies around, taking up valuable deck space. The crew of Jan De Nul Group’s trailing suction hopper dredger Capitan Nuñez optimised the pervasive situation with a covering which allows ventilation without wasting additional space. Stanchions are mounted over the manhole to hold the cover in place in the opened position. When the cover needs to be removed, an extension ladder with railings fits onto the bolts of the removed cover. Employees can then enter the enclosed space without hindering the use of a rescue tripod. When not in use, confined space equipment is conveniently stored in a box on deck. The recurring hazard of unsealed manholes on the decks of many vessels can be resolved with this single solution.


  1. Next Ocean – Wave Predictor

Irregular and unpredictable, severe waves have a detrimental impact on the safe execution of offshore operations. A statistical approach can determine the probability of a limiting wave event but even in safe conditions, the possibility of a high wave which endangers people, environment and equipment is always there. Knowing if a wave is coming with enough lead time is critical to be able to plan ahead and reduce risk in operations such as personnel transfer between ships and structures, the lifting of equipment and goods between ships and platform or subsea structures, and helicopter operations. Next Ocean developed a wave prediction technology which has been proven in field tests to give an average of 140 seconds notice. Raw radar video plugs into a vessel’s own navigation radar system and scans the sea surface surrounding the ship for a radius of a few miles. An algorithm generates a complete model of the sea surface and wave disturbances are translated into the ship’s reaction in terms of movements. The information is sent to a traffic light system, displaying green when operating conditions are ideal and red when workers should stop and prepare for a severe wave event. With minutes of advanced notice, crew are given even enough time to react, for example lifting spud piles to prevent damage during the project, preventing what would be a costly and time-consuming endeavour. Therefore the predictor system’s adage of “Less Risk, More Uptime” is a clear-cut advantage to the dredging industry.


  1. National Marine Dredging Company – SHIP “Supervisor Health and Safety Performance Improvement Program”

To promote the “safety first” mentality among all of its employees, management of National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) launched the Supervisor Health and Safety Performance Improvement Program (SHIP) in 2016. The programme’s goal was to establish a standard measure for safety awareness in working environments and increase the staff reporting of incidents through the introduction of four easily accessible tools over a minimum period of four years. Two tools are the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) supervisory campaign and a personal HSE performance action programme, the latter of which lets employees tailor their activities in either electronic or hard copy format so a supervisor can check and confirm and individual’s compliance. The final two tools are the HSE Awareness and Training Program for Supervisors & Foreman as well as the HSE pocket book which can be easily taken on site visits and includes diagrams, policies, a STOP card for observations and a Site Walk-through Check List. Following SHIP’s implementation, observational reporting by project and technical personnel is on track to exceed a 27 per cent improvement.


  1. Penta-Ocean Construction Co., Ltd. and Hyundai Engineering & Construction (HDEC) – Video “Safe Mooring Operations”

Prior to their collaboration on the Tuas Finger One Project in Singapore, Penta-Ocean Construction Co., Ltd. (POC) and Hyundai Engineering & Construction (HDEC) demonstrated their commitment to enhancing and ensuring safety in the dredging sector. A team led by Mr. Heo Eun-Jin produced the training video Safe Mooring Operations, complete with up-to-date regulations and standards in local languages and then showed employees before work commenced. During the coastal land reclamation project’s timeline, with all mooring-related hazards still present, there were zero accidents reported in relation to mooring. In addition to creating a conducive working environment for all workers, an unexpected and favourable outcome was the positive reaction from auditors and clients. Translated into the languages of viewers, the audio-visual presentation method proved to be effective and can be utilised for many aspects of a project’s safety concerns.


  1. Van Oord – Health, Safety and Environment Risk Management Tool

Risk management is the basis of work done by Van Oord’s employees and the term itself immediately is associated with being a complicated and time-consuming task. To stamp out the negative association and turn the burden into a simpler task, an interactive tool was developed to present information in both a practical and understandable manner. Divided into modules, the PowerPoint-powered tool displays a combination of audio, photos and text to train operational personnel on the subject of risk management. Feedback given at the conclusion of each training has been positive, showing that text-heavy formats are no longer the preferred format for consuming information. By displaying important instructions or material in an efficient way, employees are more receptive to the information no matter the subject which leads to a safer working environment.


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