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Introduction

Korea has a limited number of national safety standards, and the shipyard's standards are not regarded as sufficiently robust by the client companies that contract with the yards. This lead to client companies contractually imposing their own safety standards for their projects. The result was not only different safety standards in each shipyard, but different safety standards on individual projects in the same shipyard. Also, many of the client imposed standards were complex and not aligned with Korean shipyard fabrication methodologies. With workers frequently moving between projects and shipyards, these factors combined to cause confusion among the workers, supervisors and managers. This confusion was inevitably a contributing factor to many safety related incidents, which also manifests in increased costs and reduced production.

In order to simplify and improve safety, the three major Korean shipyards (SHI, DSME & HHI) and twenty eight client companies that frequently use the shipyards, decided to collaborate and produce common safety standards that both the shipyards and client companies could accept. The opportunity was taken to closely align the KSSS Standards requirements with the newly formulated IOGP Fabrication Site Construction Safety Recommended Practices (See http://www.iogp.org/). The project was aptly named "Korean Shipyard Safety Standardization" or KSSS.

Achieving acceptable common safety standards required collaboration between all parties on safety. This on its own was regarded as a huge achievement as these organisations were normally competitors in business. The efforts began by jointly recognising that safety was not an area in which to compete, but rather a common goal. It also required an understanding and a firm commitment from each company, that compromise would be inevitable in order to reach agreement.

The expectation is that this initiative will be the first step in the path to an improved safety culture in Korea, with involvement and support from shipyards, clients, workers and the Korean regulators (See Figure 1). The standardization of safety will benefit the shipyards, the workers and the clients that use the shipyards. The major benefits of standardising safety are regarded as follows:

  • Eliminates confusion, as workers are following the same safety standards on every project no matter whether offshore or shipbuilding and regardless of the client or shipyard.
  • With common safety standards, the training can be fully integrated and shared, eliminating the need for repeated training. Training can be recorded in a common database and shared as necessary as evidence that the necessary training has been completed, resulting in improved competency assurance of shipyard and subcontractor labour.
  • More effective monitoring and supervision of safety, easier to make positive interventions when observing an unsafe act, as everyone is following a known and familiar safety standard.
  • Acts as a strong foundation for a cultural change in safety that will sustain continuous improvement.
  • All the above will result in improved safety, fewer incidents, improved reputation, cost savings, increased productivity and a more competitive position for both Shipyards and Clients.

More benefits can be found in Figure 2.

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